nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒10‒31
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. The Reorganization of Inventive Activity in the United States during the Early Twentieth Century By Naomi R. Lamoreaux; Kenneth L. Sokoloff; Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
  2. Credit crises, money, and contractions: A historical view By Michael D. Bordo; Joseph G. Haubrich
  3. Commodity Terms of Trade: The History of Booms and Busts By Irina Tytell; Nikola Spatafora
  4. Interpreting the Early Stages of the Self-service Revolution in Europe: the Modernization of Food Retailing in Spain, 1947-1972 By Maixe-Altes, J Carles
  5. The economy of a parish church in the diocese of Linköping 1592-1735 By Hansson, Göran
  6. EAST AND WEST, THE TWAIN SHALL MEET:A Cross-cultural Perspective on Higher Education By Tejas A. Desai
  7. Institutions and the environment: the case for a historical political economy By Ali DOUAI (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113); Matthieu MONTALBAN (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113)
  8. A new value-weighted total return index for the Finnish stock market By Nyberg , Peter; Vaihekoski, Mika
  9. Purchasing power parity in Mexico: a historical note By Wallace, Frederick
  10. Contemporary lessons in Economic Philosophy drawn from two recent Indian Films By Tejas A. Desai
  11. Estimating Historical Energy Security Costs By Arnold, Steven; Markandya, Anil; Hunt, Alistair
  12. Spatial implications of international trade under the new economic geography approach By Ramírez Grajeda, Mauricio; de León Arias, Adrián

  1. By: Naomi R. Lamoreaux; Kenneth L. Sokoloff; Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
    Abstract: The standard view of U.S. technological history is that the locus of invention shifted during the early twentieth century to large firms whose in-house research laboratories were superior sites for advancing the complex technologies of the second industrial revolution. In recent years this view has been subject to increasing criticism. At the same time, new research on equity markets during the early twentieth century suggests that smaller, more entrepreneurial enterprises were finding it easier to gain financial backing for technological discovery. We use data on the assignment (sale or transfer) of patents to explore the extent to which, and how, inventive activity was reorganized during this period. We find that two alternative modes of technological discovery developed in parallel during the early twentieth century. The first, concentrated in the Middle Atlantic region, centered on large firms with in-house R&D labs and superior access to the region’s rapidly growing equity markets. The other, located mainly in the East North Central region, consisted of smaller, more entrepreneurial enterprises that drew primarily on local sources of funds. Both modes seem to have made roughly equivalent contributions to technological change through the 1920s. The subsequent dominance of large firms seems to have been propelled by a differential access to capital during the Great Depression that was subsequently reinforced by the regulatory and military procurement policies of the federal government.
    JEL: N0 O3
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Michael D. Bordo; Joseph G. Haubrich
    Abstract: The relatively infrequent nature of major credit distress events makes a historical approach particularly useful. Using a combination of historical narrative and econometric techniques, we identify major periods of credit distress from 1875 to 2007, examine the extent to which credit distress arises as part of the transmission> of monetary policy, and document the subsequent effect on output. Using turning points defined by the Harding-Pagan algorithm, we identify and compare the timing, duration, amplitude, and comovement of cycles in money, credit, and output. Regressions show that financial distress events exacerbate business cycle downturns both in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and that a confluence of such events makes recessions even worse.
    Keywords: Monetary policy ; Credit ; Business cycles
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Irina Tytell; Nikola Spatafora
    Abstract: We compile a historical dataset covering nearly 40 years of booms and busts in the commodity terms of trade of over 150 countries. We discuss the characteristics of these events and their effects on macroeconomic performance and, in particular, compare the most recent commodity-price cycle with its historical precedents.
    Keywords: Business cycles , Commodities , Commodity price fluctuations , Commodity prices , Cross country analysis , Data analysis , Data collection , Terms of trade , Time series ,
    Date: 2009–09–25
  4. By: Maixe-Altes, J Carles
    Abstract: This article explores the Americanisation of food retailing in Spain while making a running comparison with developments in Britain and more especially, within the development of self-service techniques. This international comparison helps to ascertain the evolution and modernisation of food retailing in two distinct competitive environments. The aim of this study is to understand how Americanisation and retail innovation take place in a late-comer like Spain in the early stages of the self-service revolution. The comparison between Spain and the UK facilitates how different starting points favoured differentiated entrepreneurial options which, finally led to similar positions or modes of development. The Americanization of Spanish retailing is assessed against the backdrop of developments elsewhere in Europe. New archival evidence allows us to highlight specific aspects of the path to the Spanish modernization of food distribution. In addition to American aid, there were other elements that were crucial to the modernization process, chief among these being the contacts between Spanish and European businessmen and the influence of voluntary chains of cooperation.
    Keywords: Food trade; Americanization; mass consumption; retailing revolution; business strategies; self-service; Spain; United Kingdom; Europe
    JEL: N8 L81 N84
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Hansson, Göran (
    Abstract: This paper shows how an economy of a small parish developed over a consider-able time during Sweden’s period as a great power and in the beginning of the Age of Liberty up to 1735. The actual parish (Kälvsten) was a chapel of ease and situated in the diocese of Linköping. This diocese is one of the oldest in the country and is situated in the southern part of the western national region of Sweden of that time. At the end of the Reformation of the Swedish church the parishes in the actual diocese were at the whole utterly impoverished. The sources, the parish account books, are rather comprehensive during a long time and mostly readable. The first one begins at 1579 and up to the year 1735 only four years are missing.
    Keywords: Stormaktstiden; Linköpings stift; kyrkoräkenskaper; sockenstämma; Kälvstens kyrkas ekonomi; Sweden’s period as a great power; the diocese of Linköping; parish meeting; the economy of a parish church
    JEL: N23 N33 N43 N93
    Date: 2009–10–21
  6. By: Tejas A. Desai
    Abstract: Both India and the U.S. were once colonies of Great Britain, the world''s first but short-lived global power. And both India and the U.S. ultimately threw off the imperialist yoke. Despite independence, both democracies inherited certain things from Great Britain. Whereas India inherited the English language, parliamentary governance, socialism, and, last but not least, the English educational system; the U.S. inherited the English language, the Judeo-Christian value system, and the .white. racial identity. The English educational system of India was augmented by Soviet-style central planning which resulted in several .Institutes. that have come to dominate higher education in India. Despite being ethnically closer to Great Britain, the U.S. evolved its own system of political governance, and, more important, its own educational system. While American higher education has come to define the .gold standard. for higher education, India still lags considerably behind in higher education. This paper seeks to explain certain cultural differences that may have contributed to this imbalance between the Indian and American higher education systems.
    Date: 2009–04–24
  7. By: Ali DOUAI (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113); Matthieu MONTALBAN (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113)
    Abstract: This paper provides a critical review of the ‘state of the art’ of institutional analysis applied essentially by social-ecological economists in the environmental domain. It highlights both areas of strength and issues where there is still room for improvement in analytical terms, by construing these approaches in the context of a general taxonomy of institutionalisms – widely used in politics and applied here in the economic realm. This provides the rationale for re-construing a number of related issues drawn from the core insights of a historical institutionalist approach to human-nature.
    Keywords: Ecological economics, institutional analysis, socio-economy, regulation
    JEL: Q01 Q57 B52 P16
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Nyberg , Peter (Hanken School of Economics, Department of Finance and Statistics); Vaihekoski, Mika (Turku School of Economics (TSE) and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), School of Business)
    Abstract: This paper presents a new monthly value-weighted, all-share total return index for the Finnish stock market. The index covers the period from the establishment of the Helsinki Stock Exchange in October 1912 to the beginning of 1970, after which the WI index by Berglund et al (1983) and later in December 1990, the Exchange’s own HEX index are available. When combined, these can be used to study the development of the Finnish equity market without a break from the beginning of the stock market until the present day. We also provide a detailed description of the construction methodology and a comparison between our index and those available earlier. The new index replaces the Unitas price index, which has been the only index available for long-term studies from 1928 onwards. The new index also provides an alternative to the book equity weighted Poutvaara (1996) price index for the period 1912–1929.
    Keywords: stock market index; Finland; Helsinki Stock Exchange; Nasdaq OMX; OMXH; Unitas
    JEL: G10 N24
    Date: 2009–09–08
  9. By: Wallace, Frederick
    Abstract: Purchasing power parity has been the subject of many empirical studies. Much of this work has focused on recent history in developed countries. This paper reports results of tests for nonlinear, mean reversion of the real exchange rate for a less-developed country, Mexico, using a previously unexploited data set of monthly observations for 1930-1960. The test results provide weak support for PPP.
    Keywords: purchasing power parity; nonlinear unit root
    JEL: C20 F31
    Date: 2009–10–01
  10. By: Tejas A. Desai
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to derive some important lessons in economic philosophy from two recent Indian films. The two films, Mani Ratnam.s Guru (2007) and Madhur Bhandarkar.s Corporate (2006), are explicitly about the world of business and the people who inhabit it. The former film is not only a history lesson about the political and economic environment in India during the first 40 years after India.s independence, but is also a celebration of Adam Smith.s philosophy and, in general, capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, it brings to the fore the possibly misguided economic policies adopted by India during the first few decades after independence. .Corporate., on the other hand, complements .Guru., in the sense that it highlights the consequences borne by powerless individuals when corporations have profit as their sole aim and are willing to achieve them by hook or by crook. Also, highlighted in .Corporate. is how disastrous events can occur when politics and big business collude to undermine the interests of the working class. Thus, .Corporate. provides a case for Keynesian economics. The role of gender and family in economics is also explored in this film, as is the role and importance of ethics in economics. Last but not least, the limitations of rationality and rational behaviour are highlighted in .Corporate.. Classical economics assumes that people are perfectly rational in their decision-making. This assumption has been challenged by newer economic theories, and is also challenged by .Corporate.
    Date: 2009–04–20
  11. By: Arnold, Steven; Markandya, Anil; Hunt, Alistair
    Abstract: Energy Security is of increasing importance in today’s world, yet little research has been carried out on the costs or benefits of energy security policies. This paper looks at the period after the 1970s to estimate the cost premium of electricity generation due to energy security policies. The cost premium is estimated for France, Germany, Italy and Spain for the period 1980-2000 by estimating actual versus hypothetical lowest cost generation mixes. The cost premium is estimated to be lowest for France, which had a clear energy security policy based around developing nuclear power and reducing reliance on oil and coal.
    Keywords: Energy security; electric energy; historic cost estimation
    Date: 2009
  12. By: Ramírez Grajeda, Mauricio; de León Arias, Adrián
    Abstract: In 2008, Paul Krugman from Princeton University was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences by the Central Bank of Sweden, for his “analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity”. In this paper we survey the literature, known as the New Economic Geography (NEG), launched by Krugman (1991). In particular, we focus on four topics: (i) NEG roots, (ii) NEG rationale; (ii) the spatial impact of international trade on global economic imbalances; and (iv) the impact of international trade on urban structure.
    Keywords: New Economic Geography; Trade Openness; Agglomeration and Urban Economics.
    JEL: F15 F12 R12
    Date: 2009–10–01

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