New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2010‒11‒06
25 papers chosen by

  1. In Digital We Trust: The computerisation of retail finance in Western Europe and North America By Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Maixe-Altes, J. Carles; Thomes, Paul
  2. Virgin Finance: Sir Richard Brandson’s pursuit of a significant presence in retail financial services By Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Kase, Kimio
  3. Income inequality in central Spain, 1690-1800 By Carlos Santiago Caballero
  4. The political economy of infrastructure construction: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads” (1880-1914) By Marta Curto-Grau; Alfonso Herranz-Loncán; Albert Solé-Ollé
  5. Ownership: Evolution and regulation.. By Franks, Julian; Mayer, Colin P.; Rossi, Stefano
  6. Framing Custom, Directing Practices: Authority, Property and Matriliny under Colonial Law in Nineteenth Century Malabar By Praveena Kodoth
  7. The Political Economy of the Undervalued Renminbi By Ingrid H. Rima
  8. Economic contributions and characteristics of grapes and wine in AustraliaÂ’s wine regions By Kym Anderson; Signe Nelgen; Ernesto Valenzuela; Glyn Wittwer
  9. "Globalised sports in a historical perspective" By Christer Ericsson; Bjorn Horgby
  10. "Company Strategies and Sport Models" By Christer Ericsson
  11. Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining? By Kym Anderson; Johanna Croser; Damiano Sandri; Ernesto Valenzuela
  12. The Zambrano Report By Zambrano, Joshua
  13. Krueger/Schiff/Valdes Revisited: Agricultural Price and Trade Policy Reform in Developing Countries since 1960 By Kym Anderson
  15. Trends and cycles in regional economic growth : how spatial differences formed the Swedish growth experience 1860-2009 By Martin Henning; Kerstin Enflo; Fredrik NG Andersson
  16. General equilibrium effects of land market restrictions on labor market : evidence from wages in Sri Lanka By Emran, M. Shahe; Shilpi, Forhad
  17. Scarcity and the Evolution of Water Rights in the Nineteenth Century: the Role of Climate and Asset Type By Edwyna Harris
  19. The Perceived Cultural Changes and the Changes in Identification of the Employees During a Merger Between Two Airlines. By Timmers, A.D.
  20. Trees, tenure and conflict: Rubber in colonial Benin By Fenske, James
  21. Are commodity prices more volatile now ? a long-run perspective By Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar; Shankar, Rashmi; Trezzi, Riccardo
  22. Commodity Price Shocks and the Australian Economy Since Federation By Sambit Bhattacharyya; Jeffrey G Williamson
  23. Property Rights and Elites By Amsden, Alice H.
  24. The Evolution of U.S.Economics Textbooks By David Colander
  25. Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa 1903-2005 By Facundo Alvaredo; Anthony B Atkinson

  1. By: Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Maixe-Altes, J. Carles; Thomes, Paul
    Abstract: This paper tells of the contents of a forthcoming volume, which offers a new and original approach to the study of technological change in retail finance. Most business history studies of businesses for the last 50 years note the emergence of computers and computer applications, but they do not analyze their role in shaping business practices and organizations. In this book we look directly at the processes of mechanisation and computerisation of retail financial services, throughout the 20th Century while articulating an international comparison. We bring together young, well established and independent historians, who come from different traditions (that is, economic, business, accounting, geography and political histories as well as historians of technology). Contributors look at stand alone and comparative case studies from different parts of the world (namely Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Mexico and the USA). The outcome is a rich survey of the broad literature examining different aspects of the technological and business histories of retail financial markets from a variety of perspectives.
    Keywords: Retail finance; automation; Western Europe (Germany; UK; Spain; Netherlands; Sweden); North America (USA; Mexico)
    JEL: N8 N2 L63
    Date: 2010–10
  2. By: Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Kase, Kimio
    Abstract: This teaching case study tells of the foundation and growth of the Virgin Group over the forty years to 2010. The creation of over 300 business interests in parts as far afield as the UK, South Africa, Australia and the USA resulted from a unique management style. Branson and the Virgin brand often associate with music (such as records and music stores) and travel (airlines, trains and booked holidays) but between August 2007 and February 2008 they were involved in a failed takeover of Northern Rock, a collapsed British bank. However, as this case study details, the Northern Rock affair was one of a long series of steps dating to the 1980s through which Branson and Virgin have been developing capabilities to enter the British retail banking sector.
    Keywords: Branson; Virgin; retail financial services; leadership style; corporate strategy; diversification
    JEL: N24 A20 N84 M13
    Date: 2010–05
  3. By: Carlos Santiago Caballero
    Abstract: This paper studies the evolution of income inequality in central Spain during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, taking as case study the province of Guadalajara. The first part of the paper presents the sources and the dataset that was created to estimate income inequality using grain tithes. The second section shows that through the period grain represented the lion share of total income and therefore that it can be used as a reliable proxy. The following part of the paper introduces an analysis of income inequality in the province during the period 1690-1800 and concludes that inequality decreased during the last third of the eighteenth century. Finally the paper addresses this unexpected result and concludes that it was consequence of the success of the land reform carried out by the central government in the late 1760s. The reform was a success in Guadalajara thanks to the characteristics of its population and the lack of bargaining power of pressure groups.
    Keywords: Agrarian history, Inequality, Pressure groups, Institutions
    JEL: D63 N33 N53 O1 O18 Q15
    Date: 2010–10
  4. By: Marta Curto-Grau (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Alfonso Herranz-Loncán (Universitat de Barcelona); Albert Solé-Ollé (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which the public allocation of road investment was influenced by political and electoral goals during the Spanish Restoration (1874-1923). More precisely, we seek to identify those provinces that were favoured with higher road construction expenditure and whether tactical strategies adopted by the political parties varied over time to reflect increasing political competition. In so doing, this paper combines concepts from three strands of literature: legislative pork-barrel; clientelism and machine politics; and electoral competition. Our main empirical finding for a panel of Spain’s provinces suggests that constituencies electing a higher proportion of deputies from minority or opposition parties were initially punished through lower levels of road investment but that, by the end of the period, they were instead favoured with more resources than the rest. In addition, we also observe that senior deputies who had been ministers in previous administrations were more capable than other politicians of attracting resources to their constituencies
    Keywords: Road investment, distributive politics, electoral competition, vote buying
    JEL: H54 P16 D72
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Franks, Julian; Mayer, Colin P.; Rossi, Stefano
    Abstract: This article is the first study of long-run evolution of investor protection and corporate ownership in the United Kingdom over the twentieth century. Formal investor protection emerged only in the second half of the century. We assess the influence of investor protection on ownership by comparing cross-sections of firms at different times in the century and the evolution of firms incorporating at different stages of the century. Investor protection had little impact on dispersion of ownership: even in the absence of investor protection, rates of dispersion of ownership were high, associated primarily with mergers. Preliminary evidence suggests that ownership dispersion in the United Kingdom relied more on informal relations of trust than on formal investor protection.
    JEL: C32 C34
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Praveena Kodoth
    Abstract: Colonial judges and jurists interpreted matrilineal customs in terms of a theory of matrilineal law, which they shaped in the process of interpretation, rather than on the basis of existing practices. This paper analyses critically the process of interpretation of customs or what is referred to as the legal discourse on matriliny, from the standpoint of its own assumptions, i.e., the ideas and theory that shaped and governed it. [Working Paper No. 338]
    Keywords: colonial law, customary practice, matriliny, gender, property rights
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Ingrid H. Rima (Department of Economics, Temple University)
    Abstract: A relatively new phase in China’s reform since the Cultural Revolution is evidencing itself in the focus given to direct foreign and joint investment in large-scale manufacturing industries that yield increasing returns. The ongoing relative cheapness of the yuan at 6.78 to the dollar is assuredly enhancing the effectiveness of China’s export program. The U. S. Congress maintains that a more expensive renminbi would ease the plight of the American manufacturing sector and laid-off workers. However, the argument of this paper is that the success of China’s trade is not based on Ricardian comparative advantage. Its trade reforms are better explained in terms of increasing returns as set forth in Nicholas Kaldor's restatement of Verdoorn’s Law and Adam Smith’s “vent for surplus” principle. This analytical perspective seems particularly relevant, given contemporary political concern about the value of the yuan. Given the attractiveness of China for direct foreign investment (DFI), what is the likely ultimate effect on the distribution of the world’s wealth? It seems possible that trade can alter the distribution of the world’s negotiable wealth in the twenty-first century in much the same way as the programs of the World Bank and the IMF enabled the OECD countries and the United States to control some 85 percent of the world’s wealth in the twentieth century.
    Keywords: Cultural Revolution, direct foreign investment, export-led growth, trade reform, vent for surplus, Verdoorn's Law.
    JEL: F12 F31
    Date: 2010–10
  8. By: Kym Anderson (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Signe Nelgen (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Ernesto Valenzuela (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Glyn Wittwer (Centre of Policy Studies, Monash University, Clayton)
    Abstract: Over the past two decades, the Australian wine industry has been through a remarkable period of export-oriented growth. Even when vines for drying and table grapes are included, the vineyard area in Australia has trebled over the 20 vintages to 2008, the biggest surge in Australia’s history. In the first half of the 1980s, barely 2 percent of the country’s wine production was exported, which was less than the volume it imported. Today, nearly two-thirds of Australia’s production is exported – and production itself has increased nearly four-fold since the early 1980s. Prepared for the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) and the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC). The authors are grateful for funding from GWRDC (Project Number UA08/04) and the University of Adelaide’s Wine2030 project, and for helpful comments from Leanne Webb of CSIRO, Jim Fortune, and members of the project’s Industry Reference Group.
    Date: 2009–10
  9. By: Christer Ericsson (School of Health and Medical Sciences, Orebro University); Bjorn Horgby (School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Orebro University)
    Abstract: The great interest in Asia for European, male football is an expression of globalised sports. Here globalisation and processes of globalisation stands for the economical, social and cultural processes, which link and affect globally. Global capitalism created a world hegemony. As a consequence the hegemonic power of the western world (including Japan) until now will be the norm of interpretation. A precondition for the development of globalised sports as an industry of entertainment is the developing of a global infrastructure - especially in the shape of cable and satellite television. This infra structure, developed in the 80s and 90s, made it possible to worldwide watching of Olympic games, European Championships and World Championships in male football. The expansion of media played an important role for especially European football being global. The heavy interest was capitalized in the rights of broadcasting, which rapidly became substantial costly as the requests on the market grew. Global attention made well-known athletics as the British footballer David Beckham becoming symbols of public relations twinning sports, entertainment and advertising in their brand names. Also the leading football clubs (or entertainment enterprises) as Manchester United and Barcelona became actors on a global commercial market. The season 1992/93 the Champions League became a formidable success. On the expanding broadcasting market the prime European football soon became a global matter. The combination of TV-rights and the logic of competition and success resulted in strengthening of the already economically strong clubs, which made them even more successful both sporting and economically. The broadcasting rights play an important role in the formation of the leading clubs as profitdriven companies. Financially strong interests of owners now compete of purchasing clubs in the British Premier League. Another consequence of the global infra structure were the effects on the conditions of the labour market of sports. The new economical preconditions created assumptions for them to buy the best players on the market. The direction of the mobility from the economical periphery to the economical centre implies that the players move to Western Europe and the leading leagues there. The processes of globalisation got many cultural consequences. Traditionalistic reactions in the Western World resulted in growing national and specific local identities. Sports are important fields for the interpretation of these identities. The use of national symbols connected to sports has been more common. Firsthand supporting the national team has become more common. The interest from media has increast distinctly. The national celebration of the successes has increased - especially in the form of celebrating the heroes in a carnivalesque way. The local identities are mostly expressed as the cultures of supporters. Hooliganism is an extreme form of this, which heavily has affected European male football. Hooliganism is a social problem, but when comes to the audience's behaviour it is a relative marginal phenomenon. Historically the male football interpreted class and local identities. As a result of this processes the audience was considered as an uncontrolled mass, which express community, carnival and ritual with tifon's, supporting chants and songs. Hooliganism has existed all through the football's history, as one undercurrent. It got increased attention after England's victory in the World Championships of 1966. As a consequence of the mediated interest modern British style of football hooliganism in 1971 came to Sweden. In the 90s the problem grew, when the hooligan firms expanded. But, the historical perspective shows that the western problem with hooliganism is old and cannot be distinguished from the practice of football. The violent European fans treat the British hooligans as role-models, which inspired them and told them how to develop their own culture. The hooligans also are inspired by the increasing media coverage of football related violence.
    Date: 2010–10
  10. By: Christer Ericsson (School of Health and Medical Sciences, Orebro University)
    Abstract: The comparison in this article between companies in Japan and Sweden shows that although there are obvious historical and cultures differences between the countries different routes towards becoming modern democratic welfare states, differences in the industrialization and in modernization; differences in how sport were introduced and how it was shaped, there are similarities in how companies used sport in company strategies.
    Date: 2010–10
  11. By: Kym Anderson (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Johanna Croser (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Damiano Sandri (International Monetary Fund); Ernesto Valenzuela (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: This paper summarizes a new database that sheds light on the impact of trade-related policy developments over the past half century on distortions to agricultural incentives and thus also to consumer prices for food in 75 countries spanning the per capita income spectrum. Price-support policies of advanced economies hurt not only domestic consumers and exporters of other products but also foreign producers and traders of farm products, and they reduce national and global economic welfare. On the other hand, the governments of many developing countries have directly taxed their farmers over the past half-century, both directly (e.g., export taxes) and also indirectly via overvaluing their currency and restricting imports of manufactures. Thus the price incentives facing farmers in many developing countries have been depressed by both own-country and other countriesÂ’ agricultural price and international trade policies. We summarize these and realted stylized facts that can be drawn from a new World Bank database that is worthy of the attention of political economy theorists, historians and econometricians. These indicators can be helpful in addressing such questions as the following: Where is there still a policy bias against agricultural production? To what extent has there been overshooting in the sense that some developing-country food producers are now being protected from import competition along the lines of the examples of earlier-industrializing Europe and Japan? What are the political economy forces behind the more-successful reformers, and how do they compare with those in less-successful countries where major distortions in agricultural incentives remain? And what explains the pattern of distortions across not only countries but also industries and in the choice of support or tax instruments within the agricultural sector of each country?
    Keywords: Political economy, agricultural price and trade policies
    JEL: F13 F59 H20 N50 O13 Q18
    Date: 2010–05
  12. By: Zambrano, Joshua
    Abstract: An analysis of the current U.S. economic state, the problematic conditions and potential solutions to those conditions, as well as a myriad of other subjects. Also addresses the voting record and political history of Barack Obama and other Democrats, specifically the pro-life Democrats, while also examining in-depth the timeline of the recent health care reform process. Examines political donations by industry, as well as the subject of abortion on a point by point basis.
    Keywords: Addresses our current economic state; what has led to it; and what can resolve the underlying issues that otherwise deter a recovery. Also addresses the voting record of Barack Obama; examines the recent health care reform process and the role played in it by pro-life Democrats; examines the issue of abortion; and examines political donations by industry.
    JEL: A30 H50 E61
    Date: 2010–10–27
  13. By: Kym Anderson (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: A study of distortions to agricultural incentives in 18 developing countries during 1960-84, by Krueger, Schiff and Valdés (1988; 1991), found that policies in most of those developing countries were directly or indirectly harming their farmers. Since the mid-1980s there has been a substantial amount of policy reform and opening up of many developing countries, and indicators of that progress have been made available recently by a new study that has compiled estimates for a much larger sample of developing countries and for as many years as possible since 1955. The new study also covers Europe’s transition economies and comparable estimates for high-income countries, thereby covering more than 90 percent of world agricultural output and employment. This paper summarizes the methodology used in the new study (pointing out similarities and differences with those used by the OECD and by Krueger, Schiff and Valdés), compares a synopsis of the indicators from Krueger, Schiff and Valdés and the new study for the period to 1984, summarizes the changing extent of price distortions across countries and commodities globally since then, and concludes by evaluating the degree of distortion reduction over the years since 1984 compared with how much still remains, according to the results of a global economy wide model.
    Keywords: Agricultural price distortions, trade policies, developing countries
    JEL: F13 F59 H20 N50 O13 Q18
    Date: 2010–02
  14. By: Vassili Joannides (GDF - Gestion, Droit et Finance - 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 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
  15. By: Martin Henning; Kerstin Enflo; Fredrik NG Andersson
    Abstract: Using a novel dataset on regional GDP per worker 1860-2009, this paper analyzes communalities in regional long-term growth trajectories for 24 Swedish provinces. Wavelet Analysis and Principal Component Analysis are used to decompose regional growth trajectories, and to assess to what extent growth in regions share common trend and cyclical properties. It is found that regional trend growth shows strong common features among groups of regions. Primarily natural resource rich regions benefited from the First Industrial Revolution. Contrary to regional development in many other European economies, a strong growth surge in Sweden later benefited virtually the whole country during the Second Industrial Revolution. Growth in this countrywide trend slowed down in the 1970s, when the metropolitan regions became main growth engines. In mid- and short-term cyclical movements regions display more heterogeneous growth patterns, and evidence of mid-term sequential lead-lag patterns in regional growth is found, especially between core and periphery.
    Keywords: Economic history, Economic geography, Regional growth, Wavelet analysis, Sweden
    JEL: N9 O14 R11 C22
    Date: 2010–10
  16. By: Emran, M. Shahe; Shilpi, Forhad
    Abstract: Taking advantage of a historical quasi-experiment in Sri Lanka, this paper provides evidence on the effects of land market restrictions on wages and its spatial pattern. The empirical specification is derived from a general equilibrium model that predicts that the adverse effects of land market restrictions on wages will be less in remote locations. For identification, the study exploits the effects of historical malaria prevalence on the incidence of land restrictions through its effects on"crown land". During the 16th to early 20th centuries, areas severely affected by malaria were abandoned by households and the land was taken over by the government. These lands that were later distributed through resettlement programs are subject to sales, rental, and mortgage restrictions. The variations in the amount of crown land resulting from different intensity of historical malaria provide a source of exogenous variations in the incidence of land restrictions in a sub-district. The results show that land restrictions reduce wages substantially, and this effect is smaller in remote locations. A 1 percent increase in land restrictions reduces wages by about 6.6 percent at the median travel time from an urban center, and the effect becomes effectively zero after 6 hours of travel time.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Political Economy,Population Policies,Urban Housing and Land Settlements,National Urban Development Policies&Strategies
    Date: 2010–10–01
  17. By: Edwyna Harris
    Abstract: The adoption of a hybrid approach to water rights known as the California doctrine in some western states of the United States (US) and Australia creates some doubt as to what factors drive scarcity and the evolution of property rights to water. In previous studies commentators have argued that climate is the only variable that drives water scarcity. This can explain why private rights (prior appropriation) were adopted in western states of the US during the nineteenth century. However, it cannot explain why the hybrid approach where common and private rights co-existed in nine of seventeen arid US states and two Australian colonies persisted. This paper shows that in addition to climate, the dominant type of asset investment impacts water scarcity via the mobility constraint. Asset investment can be deployable or non-deployable. When deployable assets dominate the mobility constraint is close to zero and not binding thereby reducing water scarcity because alternative production locations are available. Conversely when non-deployable assets dominate the mobility constraint is close to one and binding so that assets are unable to be moved to alternative production locations. We present a framework that combines climate and asset type in order to determine the net effects on water scarcity in order to predict when and where common and/or private water rights will evolve. Empirical evidence from several countries is used to verify the frameworks predicative capacity. The findings show the combination of these two variables is better able to explain the emergence and persistence of the hybrid California doctrine as well as the adoption of ‘pure’ private rights (the Colorado doctrine) in eight of seventeen US states than if we rely on climate alone.
    Date: 2010–05
  18. By: Thibault Daudigeos (MC - Management et Comportement - Grenoble Ecole de Management, IFGE - Institut Français de Gouvernement des Entreprises - EM LYON); Bertrand Valiorgue (IFGE - Institut Français de Gouvernement des Entreprises - EM LYON, Pôle Stratégie et Gouvernance des Organisations - Groupe ESC Clermont)
    Abstract: This paper highlights overlap and differences between Convention Theory and New Organizational Institutionalism and thus states the strong case for profitable dialog. It shows how the former can facilitate new institutional approaches. First, convention theory rounds off the model of institutionalized action by turning the spotlight to the role of evaluation in the coordination effort. In parallel, the attention focused on the two components of the qualification process also sheds new light on the institutional dynamics issue at the heart of organizational institutionalism research since the mid-90s.
    Keywords: Convention; new institutionalism; institutional logic; qualification; compromise; higher-order principles of justice; order of worth
    Date: 2010–08–30
  19. By: Timmers, A.D. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: This dissertation explores changes in perceived cultural differences and identification with the merged firm during the postmerger integration process. The information was gathered from an acquisition between two airlines. The research has been done over an extensive period of time thereby using the longitudinal approach. A number of propositions have been formulated with regard to the effect of an acquisition on perceived differences in organizational cultures. The assumption was that changes would occur over time and that different forms of integration would result in different changes in perception. The influence of national culture on the perception of organizational culture was also examined. Furthermore this dissertation examines the meaning and significance of the social identity of the employees of an organization during the acquisition. Using the results of the reasoning within the social identity theory this dissertation explores when the identification was more or less salient. Several hypotheses were formulated pertaining to the effects on identification with a merged firm of three types of responses from acquired-firm employees.
    Date: 2010
  20. By: Fenske, James
    Abstract: Tree crops have changed land tenure in Africa. Planters have acquired more permanent, alienable rights, but have also faced disputes with competing claimants and the state. I show that the introduction of Para rubber had similar effects in the Benin region of colonial Nigeria. Planters initially obtained land by traditional methods. Mature plantations were assets that could be sold, let out, and used to raise credit. Disputes over rubber involved smallholders, communities of rival users, would-be migrant planters, commercial plantations, and the colonial state, which feared rubber would make land unavailable for food crops.
    Keywords: Africa; rubber; land tenure; Benin; Nigeria; tree crops; land disputes
    JEL: N57 O10
    Date: 2010–10
  21. By: Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar; Shankar, Rashmi; Trezzi, Riccardo
    Abstract: Soaring commodity prices in 2007 and 2008 raised concerns that volatility was also rising, which would have implications for welfare and therefore for the design of public policy interventions. The literature focuses on trends in commodity prices rather than their volatility characteristics. This paper contributes by examining commodity price volatility with a newly compiled monthly panel dataset on 45 individual commodity prices from the end of the 18th century until today. The main conclusions are: the timing and number of breaks in volatility vary considerably across individual commodities, cautioning against generalizations based on the use of commodity price indices; the three most significant breaks common to most commodities are the two world wars and the collapse of the Bretton-Woods system; and structural breaks marking increased price volatility are followed by breaks marking declines in volatility so that there is no upward or downward trend in volatility over time.
    Keywords: Markets and Market Access,Emerging Markets,Access to Markets,Commodities,Economic Conditions and Volatility
    Date: 2010–10–01
  22. By: Sambit Bhattacharyya; Jeffrey G Williamson
    Abstract: Australia has experienced frequent and large commodity export price shocks like Third World commodity exporters, but this price volatility has had much more modest impact on economic performance. Why? This paper explores Australian terms of trade volatility since 1901. It identifies two major price shock episodes before the recent mining-led boom and bust. It assesses their relative magnitude, their de-industrialization and distributional impact during the booms, and their labour market and policy responses throughout. Australia has indeed responded differently to volatile commodity prices than have other commodity exporters.
    Keywords: Commodity exports, price shocks, Australian economy
    JEL: F14 F43 N17 O56
    Date: 2010
  23. By: Amsden, Alice H.
    Abstract: An elite derives its status from its relationship to property, whether physical or human capital. While stable property rights are necessary for everyday business, unstable property rights that result in major institutional changes (such as land reform) may have a positive impact on economic development. When are the ‘wrong’ property rights right? Institutional changes have a positive impact on economic development when a country’s elite can manage them. To support this generalization we examine the managerial capacity associated with elite status, highlighting which capabilities enable them to control changes in property rights regimes to their individual and national advantage. We compare how nationalization of foreign firms, a radical change in property rights, was managed in Argentina, China, Korea and Taiwan after the Second World War.
    Keywords: Elites, property rights, indigensim, capabilities, role models
    Date: 2010
  24. By: David Colander
    Date: 2010
  25. By: Facundo Alvaredo; Anthony B Atkinson
    Abstract: There have been important studies of overall income inequality and of poverty in South Africa. In this paper, we approach the subject from a different direction: the extent and evolution of top incomes. We present estimates of the shares in total income of groups such as the top 1 per cent and the top 0.1 per cent, covering, with gaps, more than a hundred years. In order to explain the observed dynamics, here we consider —in a preliminary way— three factors: the transfer of political authority, racial discrimination, and the rich mineral resources. The estimates of top income shares for recent years bear out the picture of South Africa as a highly unequal country..
    Keywords: Natural Resources, Colonial Rule, Apartheid, South Africa, top incomes.
    JEL: C72 D74
    Date: 2010

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