nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2010‒05‒08
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. A century of macroeconomic and monetary thought at the National Bank of Belgium By Ivo Maes
  2. The development of monetary policy in the 20th century – some reflections By Otmar Issing
  3. The state and scope of the economic history of developing regions By Stefan Schirmer; Latika Chaudhary; Metin Cosgel; Jean-Luc Demonsant; Johan Fourie; Ewout Frankema; Giampaolo Garzarelli; John Luiz; Martine Mariotti; Grietjie Verhoef; Se Yan
  4. The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data By Philip S. Babcock; Mindy Marks
  5. Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America By Howard Bodenhorn; Carolyn Moehling; Gregory N. Price
  6. An Autopsy of the U.S. Financial System By Ross Levine
  7. Getting rid of Keynes ? A survey of the history of macroeconomics from Keynes to Lucas and beyond By Michel De Vroey
  8. Twenty Years of Political Transition By Tresiman, Daniel
  9. KEEPING ACCOUNTS BY THE BOOK: THE REVELATION(S) OF ACCOUNTING By Vassili Joannides; Nicolas Berland
  10. Labor Market and Globalization: A Comparison of the Latin American and the East Asian Experiences in the 1980s and 1990s By Bruno, Randolph Luca
  11. The euro: It can't happen, It's a bad idea, It won't last. US economists on the EMU, 1989-2002 By Lars Jonung; Eoin Drea
  12. Commercialisation of Microfinance in India: A Discussion on the Emperor’s Apparel By Sriram M S

  1. By: Ivo Maes (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department; Université catholique de Louvain, Robert Triffin Chair; HUBrussel; ICHEC Brussels Management School)
    Abstract: "A century of macroeconomic and monetary thought at the National Bank of Belgium" traces the history of economic research at the National Bank of Belgium, from the early decades of the 20th century to its present functioning in the Eurosystem. The study also goes into the major economic policy debates, as well as the specific lines of macroeconomic and monetary thinking at the National Bank of Belgium. The focus is very much on the role of the Research Department in policymaking and its dialogue (and debates) with the academic community
    Keywords: National Bank of Belgium, central banking, monetary theory, economic research
    JEL: A11 B22 E42 E58 N10
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201004-03&r=his
  2. By: Otmar Issing (Center for Financial Studies, Frankfurt am Main)
    Abstract: In this paper I outline – from a practitioner’s as well as from a researcher’s perspective – several of the key developments that took place during the last century in monetary policy. In particular, I describe how the monetary system evolved from gold standard, prevailing throughout most of the last century, to paper money and how the norm in central banking changed from pure discretion after World War II to transparency and independence. I furthermore analyze how the exchange rate regime under Bretton-Woods impacted on countries’ monetary policy and, with a focus on Europe, how European Monetary Union (EMU) emerged from the European Monetary System (EMS). I then outline today’s relatively broad consensus on monetary policy and how it developed from a learning process on the side of central banks and important contributions from research. Finally, after arguing that the ECB’s monetary policy which fruitfully combines past experience and current research is a successful and promising approach, I outline some challenges lying ahead
    Keywords: monetary policy, monetary system, European Monetary Union, ECB
    JEL: A11 B22 E42 E58 F33 N10
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201004-01&r=his
  3. By: Stefan Schirmer; Latika Chaudhary; Metin Cosgel; Jean-Luc Demonsant; Johan Fourie; Ewout Frankema; Giampaolo Garzarelli; John Luiz; Martine Mariotti; Grietjie Verhoef; Se Yan
    Abstract: This paper examines the state and scope of the study of economic history of developing regions, underlining the importance of knowledge of history for economic development. While the quality of the existing research on developing countries is impressive, the proportion of published research focusing on these regions is low. The dominance of economic history research on the North American and Western European success stories suggests we need a forum for future research that contributes to our understanding of how institutions, path dependency, technological change and evolutionary processes shape economic growth in the developing parts of the world. Many valuable data sets and historical episodes relating to developing regions remain unexplored, and many interesting questions unanswered. This is exciting. Economic historians and other academics interested in the economic past have an opportunity to work to begin to unlock the complex reasons for differences in development, the factors behind economic disasters and the dynamics driving emerging success stories.
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2010-517&r=his
  4. By: Philip S. Babcock; Mindy Marks
    Abstract: Using multiple datasets from different time periods, we document declines in academic time investment by full-time college students in the United States between 1961 and 2003. Full-time students allocated 40 hours per week toward class and studying in 1961, whereas by 2003 they were investing about 27 hours per week. Declines were extremely broad-based, and are not easily accounted for by framing effects, work or major choices, or compositional changes in students or schools. We conclude that there have been substantial changes over time in the quantity or manner of human capital production on college campuses.
    JEL: J22 J24
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15954&r=his
  5. By: Howard Bodenhorn; Carolyn Moehling; Gregory N. Price
    Abstract: This paper considers the extent to which crime in early America was conditioned on height. With data on inmates incarcerated in Pennsylvania state penitentiaries between 1826 and 1876, we estimate the parameters of Wiebull proportional hazard specifications of the individual crime hazard. Our results reveal that, consistent with a theory in which height can be a source of labor market disadvantage, criminals in early America were shorter than the average American, and individual crime hazards decreased in height.
    JEL: J24 K14 N31
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15945&r=his
  6. By: Ross Levine
    Abstract: In this postmortem, I find that the design, implementation, and maintenance of financial policies during the period from 1996 through 2006 were primary causes of the financial system’s demise. The evidence is inconsistent with the view that the collapse of the financial system was caused only by the popping of the housing bubble and the herding behavior of financiers rushing to create and market increasingly complex and questionable financial products. Rather, the evidence indicates that regulatory agencies were aware of the growing fragility of the financial system associated with their policies during the decade before the crisis and yet chose not to modify those policies.
    JEL: E60 G20 G28 H1
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15956&r=his
  7. By: Michel De Vroey (University of Louvain)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to recount the ebbs and flows of Keynesianism over the history of macroeconomics. The bulk of the paper consists of a discussion of the main episodes of the unfolding of macroeconomics (Keynesian macroeconomics, monetarism, new classical macroeconomics, real business cycle models and new neoclassical synthesis models) against the background of a distinction between Keynesianism as a ‘moderately conservative’ (Keynes’s words) vision about the working of the market system and as a conceptual apparatus. Particular attention is given to the contrast between Keynesian and Lucasian macroeconomics. The paper ends with a few remarks about the impact of the present crisis on the development of macroeconomic theory
    Keywords: Keynes, Lucas, history of macroeconomics
    JEL: B
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201004-02&r=his
  8. By: Tresiman, Daniel
    Abstract: What explains the divergent political paths that the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have followed since the fall of the Berlin Wall? While some appear today to be consolidated democracies, others have all the features of consolidated autocracy. This study reviews the patterns of change and examines correlates of progress towards democracy. Variation across post-communist countries in the degree of democracy twenty years after the start of transition can be parsimoniously explained by two variables: the length of time the country spent under a communist regime and—within the former Soviet Union, but not Eastern Europe—the proportion of Muslim adherents in the population.
    Keywords: democracy, transition, post-communism, Islam
    Date: 2010
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-31&r=his
  9. By: Vassili Joannides (GGSB - Grenoble Graduate School of Business - Grenoble Ecole de Management); Nicolas Berland (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)
    Abstract: Our paper addresses what the moral foundations of accounting are, regardless of capitalistic operations, as we are seeking to trace a genealogy of accounting thinking disconnected from coincidence with Capitalism. We demonstrate that the three monotheisms have bared the core of accounting. We purport to explicate how the three monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity divided into Roman Catholicism and Protestantisms, and Islam) have successively revealed the nature of accounting to moralise people's day-to-day conduct. Our approach to the revelation of accounting is informed with practice theory to study how accounting was used in believers' day-today activities and faith management. To this end, we read theological debates on accounting from Rabbinic, Islamic, Catholic and Protestant literatures raised at the time of the Reformation. Our study reveals that, in the four religions, bookkeeping serves as routine and rules to account for daily conduct, its content being contingent upon common understandings (viz. God's identity, capabilities and expectations) and teleoaffective structures (viz. definition of and ways to salvation). Through this paper, we demonstrate that accounting issues have always served as a sub-practice in moral practices and is therefore not necessarily coincidental with economic operations. Ultimately, we contribute to literature on the genesis of accounting, accounting as situated practice and accounting as moral practice.day-today activities and faith management. To this end, we read theological debates on accounting from Rabbinic, Islamic, Catholic and Protestant literatures raised at the time of the Reformation. Our study reveals that, in the four religions, bookkeeping serves as routine and rules to account for daily conduct, its content being contingent upon common understandings (viz. God's identity, capabilities and expectations) and teleoaffective structures (viz. definition of and ways to salvation). Through this paper, we demonstrate that accounting issues have always served as a sub-practice in moral practices and is therefore not necessarily coincidental with economic operations. Ultimately, we contribute to literature on the genesis of accounting, accounting as situated practice and accounting as moral practice.
    Keywords: religion, accounting, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Control as practice
    Date: 2010
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:gemptp:hal-00477759_v1&r=his
  10. By: Bruno, Randolph Luca (University College London)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the labor market and its relationship with globalization in two groups of countries similar in their GDP per capita levels at the beginning of the 1980s but otherwise significantly different in their economic and social structures. On the one hand we look at Argentina, Brazil and Chile, on the other hand we analyse South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. It is argued that the Latin American group adopted pro-globalization policies too quickly and without an adequate social safety net, and that the East Asian group was particularly vulnerable to the 1997 crisis in connection with an ill-designed financial markets liberalisation and poor labor market policies. We suggest that the high social costs of labor market imbalances generated throughout the 1980s and 1990s in these two groups of countries should have been tackled within an encompassing development strategy, with an eye at social safety nets and labor supply policies – such as active and passive labor market institutions – designed for each country specifically.
    Keywords: globalization, labor market, Latin America, East Asia
    JEL: F16 J21 O15
    Date: 2010–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izapps:pp16&r=his
  11. By: Lars Jonung; Eoin Drea
    Abstract: This study of approximately 170 publications shows (a) that US academic economists concentrated on the question "Is the EMU a good or bad thing?", usually adopting the paradigm of optimum currency areas as their main analytical vehicle, (b) that they displayed considerable scepticism towards the single currency, (c) that economists within the Federal Reserve System had a less analytical and a more pragmatic approach to the single currency than US academic economists, and (e) that US economists adjusted their views and analytical approach as European monetary unification progressed. In particular, the traditional optimum currency approach was gradually put into question.
    Keywords: The euro, optimum currency area, ECB, EMU, Federal Reserve System, monetary unification, Europe, United States, Jonung, Drea
    JEL: B22 E E5 F02 F33 F41
    Date: 2009–12
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:euf:ecopap:0395&r=his
  12. By: Sriram M S
    Abstract: The paper looks at the growth and commercialization of microfinance in India. It starts out be looking at how the commercial microfinance has evolved internationally by discussing two specific examples and then moves on to examine the specifics cases of four large microfinance institutions in India. The basic argument of the paper is that most of the early microfinance in India happened through donor and philanthropic funds. These funds came in to not-for-profit organizations. However as the activities scaled up, it was imperative to move to a commercial format. The paper examines the growth imperatives and the transformation processes. The paper then proceeds to look at the implications of the transformation process and its effect on the personal enrichment of the promoters of MFI as well as the governance implications. Basically it questions the moral and ethical fabric on which some to the large microfinance institutions are built. It ends by answering a set of questions that may emanate out of this discussion.
    Date: 2010–03–31
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iim:iimawp:wp2010-03-04&r=his

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