New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2010‒03‒28
eighteen papers chosen by

  1. The Place to be Seen? Annual General Meetings in the UK 1890 to 1965 By Janette Rutterford
  2. The Inheritance of Gregory Clark By McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen
  3. Writing masters and accountants in England – a study of occupation, status and ambition in the early modern period By John Richard Edwards
  4. Meanings and Roots of the Word “Accounting” A Comparative Study of Sixty Five Languages By Jacques Richard
  5. Is marketing becoming a dirty word? A longitudinal study of public perceptions of marketing By Dalsace, Frédéric; Markovitch, Dmitri
  6. The Problem of Financial Accounting Measurement in Italian Accounting Thought between the 19th and the 20th Century From “Exchange Value” to “Historical Cost” By Enrico Gonella
  7. On Building the American and the European Empires. By Josep M. Colomer
  8. A Managerial Rationality? Scientific Management and the Organization of Knowledge, 1880-1915 By Thibault Le Texier
  9. Boundaries and governance of Italian state-owned enterprise: a quantitative approach By Pier Angelo Toninelli; Michelangelo Vasta
  10. Economic ideas and economists in the Parliament in the liberal age: The attempt to implement a tax on incomes in Spain in 1868-1869 By Javier San Julian Arrupe
  11. Fiscal policies in Europe and the United States during the Great Depression By Ilja Kristian Kavonius
  12. Analytic narrative By Mongin, Philippe
  13. Reconstructing Corporate Business History using Accounting Data By Mallick, Indrajit
  14. The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection: Sweden 1887 By Sibylle Lehmann; Oliver Volckart
  15. The Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1954-55 and U.S.-R.O.C Relations By Matsumoto I., Haruka
  16. Research standards for the Italian young academics: what has changed over the last thirty years? By Birolo, Adriano; Rosselli, Annalisa
  17. Discontinuous Innovation Capability Accumulation in Latecomer Natural Resource-processing Firms: Evidence from Brazil By Paulo N. Figueriredo
  18. China's Ongoing Agricultural Moderniztion: Challenges Remain After 30 Years of Reform By Lohmar, Bryan; Gale, Fred; Tuan, Francis; Hansen, Jim

  1. By: Janette Rutterford (Open University Business School - Open University)
    Abstract: This paper explores the popularity of the annual general meeting, its evolution over time and the roles played by directors and shareholders in managing the proceedings. In particular, the role of the small investor and of shareholder associations is explored as well as variations in voting rights over time. The paper is based on reports of annual general meetings, widely reported in the press, on minutes of meetings and associated correspondence in corporate archives, contemporary literature, and on pamphlets published by shareholder associations.
    Keywords: annual general meeting, history
    Date: 2010
  2. By: McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen
    Abstract: An extreme materialist hypothesis explaining the Industrial Revolution would be simply genetic. Gregory Clark asserts such a theory of sociobiological inheritance in his Farewell to Alms (2007). Rich people proliferated in England, Clark argues, and by a social Darwinian struggle the poor and incompetent died out, leaving a master race of Englishmen with the bourgeois values to conquer the world. Clark will have no truck with ideas as causes, adopting a materialist (and as he believes is implied by materialism a quantitative) theory of truth. His method, that is, follows Marx in historical materialism, as many scholars did 1890 to 1980. But he does not follow through on his promise to show his argument quantitatively. The argument fails, on many grounds. For one thing, non-English people succeeded, as for instance the Chinese now are succeeding. And such people have always done fine in a bourgeois country. For another, Clark does not show that his inheritance mechanism has the quantitative oomph to change people generally into bourgeois, nor does he show that bourgeois habits of working hard mattered, or that bourgeois values caused innovation. What made for success in 1500 is not obviously the same as what made for innovation in 1800. And in the modern world of literacy such values are not transmitted down families, but across families. Literal inheritance anyway dissipates in reversion to the mean. What mattered in modern economic growth was not a doubtfully measured change in the inherited abilities of English people. What mattered was a radical change 1600-1776, “measurable” in every play and pamphlet, in what English people wanted, paid for, revalued.
    Keywords: gregory clark; economic history; industrial revolution; sociobiological inheritance
    JEL: N01 N0 N34
    Date: 2009–07
  3. By: John Richard Edwards (The accounting and business history research group - Cardiff University)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to address the lack of knowledge of the accounting occupational group in England prior to the formation of professional accounting bodies. It does so by focusing on attempts made by the occupational group of writing masters and accountants to establish a recognisable persona in the public domain, in England, during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, and to enhance that identity by behaving in a manner designed to convince the public of the professionalism associated with themselves and their work. The study is based principally on early accounting treatises and secondary sources drawn from beyond the accounting literature. Notions of identity, credentialism and jurisdiction are employed to help understand and evaluate the occupational history of writing masters and accountants. It is shown that writing masters and accountants emerged as specialist pedagogues providing expert business knowledge required in the counting houses of entities which flourished during a period of rapid commercial expansion in mercantilist Britain. Their demise as an occupational group may be attributed to a range of factors amongst which an emphasis on personal identity, the neglect of group identity and derogation of the writing craft were most important.
    Keywords: history ; accountants ; bookkeepers
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Jacques Richard (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to answer six main questions. Question one: what are the words that are actually used to denote “accounting” in the different nations that exist across the globe? Question two: can we classify these words into families and do these families correspond to the families of languages traditionally proposed by linguists? Question three: what families of words used to denote “accounting” are the most spoken in the world? Question four: what are the roots of these words or of these families of words? Question five: do these roots have different meanings and cast different angles of light on the nature of the “accounting science”? Question six: do these meanings imply to revisit the question of the relationship between words and objects such as debated by Michel Foucault? The main answers to these questions are that only six families of words are used to denote “accounting” for about 90% of people living on the earth; that these words are mainly not in line with the linguistic families; that the most spoken word for accounting is coming from the Semitic (practically Arabic) language; that the roots of the words used for denoting “accounting” express very different meanings that highlight the different facets of the accounting science and that , contrary to the Foucault's thesis, these words (roots) seem to give some representation of the complex nature of accounting.
    Keywords: accounting, history, etymology, epistemology, philosophy, linguistics
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Dalsace, Frédéric; Markovitch, Dmitri
    Abstract: There is growing sentiment in the marketing community that our society holds an increasingly unfavorable view of the marketing profession. However, this sentiment is largely based on anecdotal and experiential evidence. In response, the authors use content analysis of the general press to investigate the American public’s current and past attitudes towards marketing. They obtain compelling evidence that the public’s attitude towards marketing has deteriorated over the past twenty years. They observe a similar trend in how marketing is treated in the American business press and in blogs. Next, the authors replicate their analyses on news media from another Western society, France, where marketing activity is subject to greater regulation than in the United States. In discussing the results, they propose that the marketing profession will evolve through a mix of three distinct practices that they name ego-marketing, techno-marketing and alter-marketing. The authors argue that marketing’s image in the population will ultimately depend on the growth and strength of each practice within this mix, with techno-marketing playing a pivotal role. They conclude by reflecting on the role that marketing scholars can play in this evolution.
    Keywords: marketing practice; marketing image; perception of marketing
    JEL: M31
    Date: 2009–11–20
  6. By: Enrico Gonella (università di pisa - Università di Pisa)
    Abstract: The main subject of the paper is the theory of accounting measurement as observed in its historical development. More notably, the research concerns theoretical concepts of such discipline, as developed by the Italian doctrine in a very specific age, that is, between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, i.e. from the theorization of the “exchange value rule” to the theorization of the “historical cost principle”. As it was impossible to examine the thought of the many scholars who gave their contribution, each one in his own way, to the development of this subject, we deemed it appropriate to focus our attention on those scholars who left their mark on the accounting history in the analyzed period. We will mention in particular such scholars as Francesco Villa, Giovanni Rossi, Fabio Besta, Gino Zappa, the latter seen in the early stage of his thinking. The analysis of the different theories devised by the above-mentioned masters, which cannot but be conducted within the limited length of this paper, led us to identify three logical steps in the evolution of the theories that have been developed on the subject in the considered phase. The results of the study can be summarized in the following considerations. In the second half of the nineteenth century, some of the best accounting experts, faced with the need to properly develop the problem of accounting measurement, thought it appropriate to rely on concepts that belonged to similar sciences, such as economics and real estate appraisal discipline, by blindly borrowing the theory of value from the former and the theory of valuation from the latter. During such age, everything hinged around the concept of “exchange value”. At the dawn of the last century, the scholars' attitude tended to become more critical. Doctrine in particular began to wonder about a subject that was crucial to the theory of accounting measurement, notably the informative purposes from which such theory takes inspiration. At the same time, a first principle took shape, which is still the basis of the theory of accounting measurement, which might be called the finalistic principle of value, which lays down that different measurement criteria must be applied to different informative purposes. An alternative criterion to that of the “exchange value” thus makes its appearance on the scene of the accounting measurement, notably, the historical cost principle. With its introduction and above all with the relinquishment of the combination of economic cost that had been initially accepted by the doctrine and the later transition to the combination of manufacturing cost, the accounting world managed to get rid, once and for all, of economic and valuative assumptions, thus becoming independent in its accounting measurements. This is mainly due to the scholars' ability to learn precious lessons from the observation of the accounting scene of the time.
    Keywords: Accounting History, Financial Accounting Measurement, Asset Valuation, Exchange Value, Cost Principle, Combinations of Costs, Italy.
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Josep M. Colomer
    Abstract: The processes of building the United States of America (USA) during the nineteenth century and the European Union (EU) since mid-twentieth century are among the major claims for the possibility of a vast, ‘imperial’-size political unit based on democratic principles. The crucial period for the consolidation of the USA was between the Civil War and the First World War, when it established clear territorial limits and completed its internal institutionalization as a federal democratic union. While the EU has achieved higher levels of economic integration on some issues than the USA did one hundred years ago, it still recognizes a number of additional candidates to become member-states and has not attained a stable constitutional framework. As it was the case for the USA about a century ago, for the current European Union putting an end to the process of territorial expansion and fixing neat external frontiers seems to be a necessary condition to achieve internal institutional stability and robust federal formulas.
    Date: 2010–01
  8. By: Thibault Le Texier (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR6227 - Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)
    Abstract: The accumulation, organization and application of knowledge form the core of modern management. This managerial knowledge consists less in the mechanical intelligence of the production processes than in a rationalization of the selection, training, and use of the “human material”. Of course, scientific management did not invent planning, measuring, analyzing, standardizing, or training. Its real breakthrough was the turning of these scattered elements into a coherent system that we propose to call the managerial rationality – rather than a managerial ideology, science or technique. By Taylor's death in 1915, the foundations of this cognitive system were fully laid. The schools of thought which latter invested and exploited this rationality not affect its general pattern and will even reinforce the centrality of its very essence: knowledge.
    Keywords: Taylor, history, management, rationalization
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Pier Angelo Toninelli; Michelangelo Vasta
    Abstract: For the most part of the last century the role of State owned enterprises was probably more pronounced, continuous and prolonged in Italy than elsewhere in the West. This was the response to the fact that Italian economic growth had long been penalized by structural frailties such as a narrow internal market, a shortage of capital, financial weakness and a decline of entrepreneurial initiative. Yet, the complexity of forms and organizations assumed by the State direct intervention in the economy (just to limit our analysis to the central level) reached heights of imagination and ingenuity in Italy that were probably unknown abroad: State companies, State monopolies, shareholding companies, State concerns and so on co-existed throughout the twentieth century. This helps to explaining why we do not yet have a precise and thorough measure of the weight of public enterprise on the entire economy, not to say of more specific data concerning their sectorial and/or regional distribution. Thus it has not been so far possible to identify precisely - at a micro level - the real dimension of Italian public enterprise, and hence assess a phenomenon whose actual magnitude remains unknown to us. The aim of our paper is to fill this gap by showing the basic features of the dimension, boundaries, structure, governance and location of Italian SOEs.
    Keywords: Italy, State owned enterprise, size and structure, governance, economic history
    JEL: N44 L32 G34
    Date: 2010–03
  10. By: Javier San Julian Arrupe (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: The presence of economic ideas in parliamentary debates is a field of study that has increasingly gained attention within the wider subject of the institutionalisation of political economy in the so called liberal age in Western world. Within this general framework, this paper focuses on a particular case: It studies the relevance of economic ideas and the role of economists in the debates which took place in the Spanish Parliament following the bill issued by the Minister of Finances Laureano Figuerola in order to establish a tax on personal incomes in 1868. The article attempts to show, first, that economic ideas played a significant role in the design and the subsequent discussions about the income tax, and that the presence and influence of economists in the Parliament at that time was remarkable. Secondly, that this was a serious attempt to modernise the structure of taxation in Spain after the liberal revolution of 1868, seeking to devise a fiscal system capable to foster economic development.
    Keywords: income tax, tax reform, parliament, public finances, political economy, economic liberalism
    JEL: H24 N43 A11 B12 K34
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Ilja Kristian Kavonius
    Abstract: Abstract: This paper discusses the fiscal policy reactions and economic policies of European countries and the United States during the Great Depression. Economic as well as economic history literature has tended to overlook the fiscal policy aspects of the Great Depression, in particular in relation to European countries. This paper concentrates specifically on this aspect, providing a comprehensive discourse on the background of the crisis and using for analysis a data set compiled from available international sources. On this basis, central government reactions, mainly on the expenditure side, are analysed. Thus, this paper provides new information concerning the economic policies during the Great Depression and helps to understands how the Great Depression developed. The conclusion reached is that fiscal policies between the two World Wars were mainly neo-classical, i.e. expenditure reacted to the development of revenue. In certain European countries, for example the Netherlands and Sweden, some counter-cyclical fiscal policies can be observed. However, as the governments there were smaller and the effect therefore comparably limited, this did not play a key role in the economic recovery. Finally, the paper briefly discusses the similarities and differences between the Great Depression and the current crisis.
    Keywords: Great Depression, fiscal policy, counter-cyclical, Keynesian fiscal policy, neo-classical economic policy, economic policy
    JEL: N12 H30 N42 N44 H60 H50 N14 H62 H63
    Date: 2010–02–11
  12. By: Mongin, Philippe
    Abstract: Since Bates, Greif, Levi, Rosenthal and Weingast's 1998 collection Analytic Narratives, historians and political scientists have argued about their method, which essentially amounts to constructing case studies in economic and political history by using game theory. The present article describes their contribution before expanding on the methodological problems of "analytic narratives" more broadly.
    Keywords: analytic narrative; game theory and history; rational choice theories
    JEL: B40 N01
    Date: 2009–11–01
  13. By: Mallick, Indrajit
    Abstract: This paper attempts to outline a methodology for reconstructing the history of big enterprise. The problem is to construct an institutional narrative that captures the essential dynamics of corporate institution creation, institutional change, development into a large corporation and its maturity. It is argued that accounting data can be one of the most important inputs in this regard. However, accounting data is necessary but not sufficient for a complete account of the history of a large corporate enterprise. Similarly, other sources of information are necessary but not sufficient for the above purpose without accounting data. This paper focuses on the use of accounting data for reconstructing corporate history and also addresses partially how such data can be combined with other sources of information to provide a complete story. We delve briefly into the nature of accounting data and the structure of accounting record keeping. Reconstructing corporate history involves asking appropriate questions on financial structure, capital budgeting and investments, operations and strategy that accounting data reveal.
    Keywords: Corporate Business History; Accounting Data
    JEL: N8 N00 G00
    Date: 2010–03–12
  14. By: Sibylle Lehmann (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Oliver Volckart (London School of Economics and Political Science, Economic History Department)
    Abstract: We analyse the Swedish general elections that took place in spring and autumn 1887. Our aim is to discover which groups of voters were responsible for the severe losses that the supporters of free trade suffered in the second of these contests, and that allowed the protectionists to gain the majority in parliament and to initiate a new tariff policy. We find that while capital owners and wage earners consistently favoured free trade, in the spring election only the largest farmers supported protectionism. By autumn, political preferences among smallholders and middling farmers had shifted in favour of protectionism, too. As these groups were not specialised in the production of import competing goods, we assume that the political landslide in the autumn elections can be attributed to the influence of anti-free trade propaganda.
    Keywords: voting, election analysis, tariffs, trade policies
    JEL: N43 N53 N73
    Date: 2010–03
  15. By: Matsumoto I., Haruka
    Abstract: On September 3, 1954, Chinese artillery began shelling Quemoy (Jinmen), one of the Kuomintang-held offshore islands, setting off the first Taiwan Strait Crisis. This paper focuses on the crisis and analyzes the following three questions: (1) What was the policy the U.S. took towards the Republic of China (R.O.C), especially towards the offshore islands, to try to end the Taiwan Strait Crisis? (2) What were the intentions of the U.S. government in trying to end the Taiwan Strait Crisis? And (3) how should U.S. policy towards the R.O.C. which led to solving the Taiwan Strait Crisis be positioned in the history of Sino-American relations? Through analysis of these questions, this study concludes that the position the U.S. took to bring an end to crisis, one which prevented China from “liberating Taiwan†and the Kuomintang from “attacking the mainland,†brought about the existence of a de facto “two-China†situation.
    Keywords: Taiwan Strait Crisis, Quemoy, Jinmen, U.S.-R.O.C. Relations, Two-China, Taiwan, China, United States, International Relations, Foreign Policy
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2010–02
  16. By: Birolo, Adriano; Rosselli, Annalisa
    Abstract: In this paper the authors present the findings of their research on a vast database containing the relevant information on the scientific characteristics of the three cohorts of assistant professors recruited in Italy in the early 1980s, the 1990s and the first few years of the new millennium. Their first objective is to trace out the scientific profile of the assistant professor in the early 1980s and the changes that came about in the following twenty-five years due to general changes in the profession and in the specific conditions of the Italian academic market. The second aim is to see what turn in direction the scientific standard has taken for access to a career as a young professor of economics, the number and typology of publications, the fields of research.
    Keywords: evolution of the scientific standard; research output; “representative” economist; academic market for economists; evaluation
    JEL: B23 A11 A14 B41
    Date: 2009–12–05
  17. By: Paulo N. Figueriredo
    Abstract: Most of the studies that describe the building of innovation capability in emerging and developing economies have focused on the ways in which latecomer firms develop continuously towards advanced capability levels along existing technological trajectories, particularly for the assembled products industries, especially in Asia. A slightly different approach is adopted herein by focusing on pathways of discontinuous capability building of firms in natural resource-processing industries. By drawing on evidence from a variety of case studies taken from 13 forestry, pulp, and paper firms in Brazil in the period 1950-2007, it was found that: (1) in contrast with the majority of case studies reported in the literature, the pathways followed by firms in their accumulation of innovation capability involved a qualitative departure from the established technological trajectory at an early stage in the development of their capability; (2) the pathways of firms along the new technological trajectories were nevertheless characterised by a high degree of variability (from world leader to laggard) in terms of the levels and speeds of the accumulation of innovation capability; (3) firms that have attained progressively higher levels of innovative performance have more rapidly developed a combination of internal and external research-based arrangements in order to undertake increasingly complex, but firm-centred innovation efforts. This paper sheds some light on some of the discussions that relate to the role of natural resources in the patterns of industrial progress and growth in those countries endowed with particular natural resource-based industries. It also provides a methodological contribution to the study of the long-term innovation strategies that make use of the dynamics of capability building, especially within natural resource-processing industries.
    Keywords: Technological trajectory; innovation capability; disruptive innovation; latecomer firms; natural resources; multiple case-study; Brazil
    JEL: O34
    Date: 2010
  18. By: Lohmar, Bryan; Gale, Fred; Tuan, Francis; Hansen, Jim
    Abstract: Thirty years ago, China began implementing a series of reforms to improve effi ciency in agricultural production. These, and subsequent, reforms reshaped Chinaâs position in the world economy. Chinaâs rapid economic development and transformation from a planned to a market-oriented economy, however, has reached a stage where further efficiency gains in agricultural production will likely hinge on the development of modern market-supporting institutions. The development of market-supporting institutions in China will bring about long-term and sustainable benefits to producers and consumers in China and the global agricultural economy. This report provides an overview of current issues in Chinaâs agricultural development, policy responses to these issues, and the effects of these policies on Chinaâs growing role in international markets.
    Keywords: China, economic reform, economic development, agricultural production, agricultural trade, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, Production Economics,
    Date: 2009–04

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.