nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2011‒04‒02
nine papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. A Century of Inflation Forecasts By D'Agostino, Antonello; Surico, Paolo
  2. Komatsu's business model through the product lifecycle By Yoichi Matsumoto
  3. The Evolution of Income Concentration in the Swiss Federalism over the Twentieth Century By Christoph A. Schaltegger; Christoph Gorgas
  4. Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-Reeling Clusters, 1908-1915 By Arimoto, Yutaka; Nakajima, Kentaro; Okazaki, Tetsuji
  5. The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long-Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy By Becker, Sascha O.; Boeckh, Katrin; Hainz, Christa; Woessmann, Ludger
  6. Migration Paradigm Shifts and Transformation of Migrant Communities: The Case of Dutch Kiwis By Suzan van der Pas; Jacques Poot
  7. Crecimiento, mestisaje y presión fiscal en el virreinato de la Nueva Granada, 1761-1800 By Adolfo Meisel Roca
  8. Blame the Switchman? Russian Railways Restructuring After Ten Years By Russell Pittman
  9. Job Polarization in the U.S.: A Reassessment of the Evidence from the 1980s and 1990s By Lefter, Alexandru; Sand, Benjamin M.

  1. By: D'Agostino, Antonello; Surico, Paolo
    Abstract: We investigate inflation predictability in the United States across the monetary regimes of the XXth century. The forecasts based on money growth and output growth were significantly more accurate than the forecasts based on past inflation only during the regimes associated with neither a clear nominal anchor nor a credible commitment to fight inflation. These include the years from the outbreak of World War II in 1939 to the implementation of the Bretton Woods Agreements in 1951, and from Nixon's closure of the gold window in 1971 to the end of Volcker’s disinflation in 1983.
    Keywords: monetary regimes; Phillips curve; predictability; time-varying models
    JEL: E37 E42 E47
    Date: 2011–03
  2. By: Yoichi Matsumoto (Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University)
    Abstract: Komatsu Limited (hereinafter referred as Komatsu) is a major construction equipment manufacturer founded in 1921. Komatsu Iron Works, which manufactured mining machinery and machine tools for its parent company, Takeuchi Mining Industry, which was engaged in coal-mining and mining, spun off as Komatsu Limited in 1921. Before the World War II, Komatsu built the first tractor in Japan and was also engaged in the development of bulldozers at the request of the military authorities. When Caterpillar Inc. of the United States made inroads into the Japanese market in the 1960s, Komatsu intensively worked on quality improvement and received the Deming Prize in 1964. This is renowned as a successful example of Japanese manufacturers in the postwar period in Japan. Komatsu is one of the distinctive manufacturers in Japan.
    Date: 2011–03
  3. By: Christoph A. Schaltegger; Christoph Gorgas
    Abstract: We study the income concentration in the Swiss federalism over the 20th century using the federal income tax statistics. While top-incomes in Switzerland as a whole evolved rather constantly across different income shares, the picture is much more heterogeneous on the subfederal level for the 26 cantons. Some cantons have a secular downward trend, others show a fall and rise of top incomes over the century as exemplified by Kuznets’ hypothesis, some develop rather constantly and even some cantons perceive a striking upward trend. Since Swiss cantons are fiscally rather autonomous, our homogeneous database serves as a basis for an analysis of the long term effects of tax competition on income concentration.
    Keywords: Income inequality; Top incomes; Taxation
    JEL: D31 H2 N3
    Date: 2011–03
  4. By: Arimoto, Yutaka; Nakajima, Kentaro; Okazaki, Tetsuji
    Abstract: We examine two sources of productivity improvement in the specialized industrial clusters of the early twentieth century Japanese silk-reeling industry. Agglomeration improves the productivity of each plant through positive externalities, shifting plant-level productivity distribution to the right. Selection expels less productive plants through competition, truncating distribution on the left. We find no evidence confirming a right shift in the distribution in clusters or that agglomeration promotes faster productivity growth. Rather, the distribution in clusters was severely left truncated, even for younger plants. These findings imply that the plant-selection effect was the source of higher productivity in the Japanese silk-reeling clusters.
    Keywords: Economic geography, Heterogenous firms, Industrial clusters, Productivity, R12, O18
    JEL: L10
    Date: 2011–03
  5. By: Becker, Sascha O. (University of Warwick); Boeckh, Katrin (Osteuropa-Institut, Regensburg (OEI)); Hainz, Christa (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Do empires affect attitudes towards the state long after their demise? We hypothesize that the Habsburg Empire with its localized and well-respected administration increased citizens' trust in local public services. In several Eastern European countries, communities on both sides of the long-gone Habsburg border have been sharing common formal institutions for a century now. Identifying from individuals living within a restricted band around the former border, we find that historical Habsburg affiliation increases current trust and reduces corruption in courts and police. Falsification tests of spuriously moved borders, geographic and pre-existing differences, and interpersonal trust corroborate a genuine Habsburg effect.
    Keywords: Habsburg Empire, trust, corruption, institutions, borders
    JEL: N33 N34 D73 Z10
    Date: 2011–03
  6. By: Suzan van der Pas (VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute – LASA); Jacques Poot (National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato)
    Abstract: This paper explores the dynamics of Dutch community change in New Zealand since 1950. We find that there are three distinct cohorts of migrants from the Netherlands to New Zealand, each covering roughly 20 years of arrivals: post-war migrants (those who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s), skilled migrants (those who arrived in the 1970s and 1980s), and transnational professionals (those who arrived in the 1990s or more recently). The data sources utilised include the New Zealand census of population and dwellings, administrative arrivals and departures data, an annual survey of incomes and employment, and a longitudinal survey of families. The data show that the first cohort (the post-war migrants) were mostly younger on arrival, more religious, less educated and had more children than the subsequent cohorts. The most recent migrants are the best qualified, with more than half with a post-school qualification. After controlling for age and education, self-reported happiness and health levels are similar to those of the New Zealand born, but there is some evidence that more recent migrants have lesser health outcomes than comparable New Zealanders. These results not only provide novel insights into the transformation of the Dutch community in New Zealand, but they also provide a case study of the extent to which global economic, social and political changes have conditioned the character and volume of the migrant flows and the dynamics of migrant community development.
    Keywords: globalisation, push and pull factors of migration, ageing of migrant communities, migrant integration, cohort analysis
    JEL: F22 J61 Z13
    Date: 2011–03
  7. By: Adolfo Meisel Roca
    Abstract: En este trabajo se analizan los recaudos tributarios de todas las Cajas Reales que había en el Virreinato de la Nueva Granada entre 1761 y 1800. Es la primera vez que esta información se presenta de manera consolidada para todo el virreinato y para un periodo de tiempo extenso. Las cifras se analizan a nivel de las regiones principales: el occidente minero, el centro artesanal y agrícola y el Caribe portuario. De esa manera es posible entender las especializaciones productivas regionales y las características en cuanto a sus ingresos fiscales. También se presentan los diferentes ingresos de las Cajas Reales de acuerdo al tipo de impuesto que se cobraba. El principal resultado que se obtiene es que en el periodo 1761-1800 las autoridades virreinales lograron aumentar drásticamente el recaudo per cápita de las Cajas Reales. Los excedentes generados por esos ingresos se usaban básicamente para financiar las defensas de Cartagena, que absorbían el grueso de ese concepto. Sólo en las décadas finales del siglo XVIII fue que el aumento en la presión fiscal permitió enviar algunos recursos a la Tesorería General en Madrid.
    Date: 2011–03–22
  8. By: Russell Pittman (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice)
    Abstract: The Russian economy relies on the Russian freight railways to an extraordinary degree. In 2001, after years of debate, the Russian government adopted an ambitious plan to transform this vertically integrated, government owned monopoly into a system that would rely more on private investment and competition and less on government ownership and regulation. This paper examines the state of the industry after ten years of reforms, with a focus on competition, tariffs, and private sector participation. Much remains to be decided, in particular the question of whether Russia will settle on its own unique model of railways restructuring or will move in the direction of one of the three standard models seen in other countries: vertical separation as in the UK and Sweden, third party access as in Germany and France, or horizontal separation, as in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
    Keywords: freight railways, restructuring, competition, Russian Federation, vertical separation, third party access, horizontal separation
    Date: 2011–02
  9. By: Lefter, Alexandru; Sand, Benjamin M.
    Abstract: In this paper, we review the evidence for job polarization in the U.S. and provide a description of the occupational employment changes that characterized the U.S. labor market during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We begin by replicating the existing job polarization trends, which are produced using a modified occupational coding scheme intended to make occupational categories comparable over time. Using two alternative procedures to obtain consistent occupational codes across decades, we show that the finding that jobs polarized in the 1990s relative to the 1980s no longer holds. Instead, we find that occupational employment shifts were very similar during the two decades. In addition, we demonstrate that the method used to rank occupations according to their skill content has a substantial impact on the employment growth in low-skill job categories. Finally, using an additional occupational crosswalk that allows us to obtain consistent occupational categories from 1970 to 2002, we provide evidence in favor of a long-term trend towards employment growth in high-skill jobs and employment decline in some middle-skill jobs, but no sharp contrast between the 1980s and the 1990s. Our findings suggest that the evolution of the occupational employment structure and the divergent wage growth patterns observed during the 1980s and 1990s do not easily fit within the routinization story as usually told.
    Keywords: Job Polarization, Occupational Employment, Employment Growth, Wage Inequality
    JEL: J21 J31
    Date: 2011–02

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