New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2011‒06‒11
23 papers chosen by

  1. Rent-Seeking Origins of Central Banks: The Case of the Federal Reserve System By Tomáš Otáhal
  2. La talla de los europeos desde 1700: tendencias, ciclos y desigualdad By José Miguel Martínez-Carrión
  3. Institutional Comparative Statics By James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik
  4. Hong Kong as an Economic Gateway (Japanese) By HISASUE Ryoichi
  5. A Crisis that Never Came. The Decline of the European Antarctic Whaling Industry in the 1950s and -60s. By Basberg, Bjørn L.
  6. Challenging path dependence? ideational mapping of nationalism and the EU’s transformative power: The case of infrastructural politics in SEE By Klimov, Blagoy
  7. On the origins of gender roles: women and the plough By Alesina, Alberto F; Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  8. The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off During the Industrial Revolution in England By Marc Klemp; Jacob Weisdorf
  9. Local administration funding and regional disparities in Italy before WW1 By P. Battilani
  10. Gender, Productivity and the Nature of Work and Pay: Evidence from the Late Nineteenth-Century Tobacco Industry By Björn Eriksson; Tobias Karlsson; Tim Leunig; Maria Stanfors
  11. Printing and Protestants: reforming the economics of the Reformation By Jared, Rubin
  12. Migration Paradigm Shifts and Transformation of Migrant Communities: The Case of Dutch Kiwis By Suzan van der Pas; Jacques Poot
  13. The Tax Benefit of Income Smoothing By Rydqvist, Kristian; Schwartz, Steven; Spizman, Joshua
  14. Inherited vs Self-Made Wealth: Theory & Evidence from a Rentier Society (Paris 1872-1937) By Piketty, Thomas; Postel-Vinay, Gilles; Rosenthal, Jean Laurent
  15. Is the Falling Rate of Profit the Driving Force Behind Globalization? By Miguel Ramirez
  16. The Preventive Check in Medieval and Pre-industrial England By Morgan Kelly; Cormac Ó Gráda
  17. The Evolution of the Modern Worker: Attitudes to Work By Alex Bryson; John Forth
  18. What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession? By Michael C. Burda; Jennifer Hunt
  19. Trends in agriculture-industry interlinkages in India: pre and post-reform scenario By Saikia, Dilip
  20. Inequality, Development, and the Stability of Democracy -Lipset and Three Critical Junctures in German History By Jung, Florian; Sunde, Uwe
  21. A historical perspective on immigration and social protection in the Netherlands By Siegel, Melissa; Neubourg, Chris de
  22. Are step-parents always evil? Parental death, remarriage, and child survival in demographically saturated Krummhörn (1720-1859) and expanding Québec (1670-1750) By Kai Willführ; Alain Gagnon
  23. The Scorecard on Development, 1960-2010: Closing the Gap? By Mark Weisbrot; Rebecca Ray

  1. By: Tomáš Otáhal (Department of Economics, FBE MENDELU in Brno)
    Abstract: What were the purposes for establishment of central banks? Central banks are historically relatively young organizations. Their main purposes are to regulate money supply through interest rates, regulate the banking sector and act as a lender of last resort to banking sector during the time of financial crises. Historical evidence suggests that in the second half of 19th century in the USA private clearing houses were able to provide the banking sector with similar services. In this paper, we follow such evidence and provide Public Choice explanation for establishment of central banks. On the historical example of establishment of the Federal Reserve System we show that the motivation for establishment of the Federal Reserve System might be rather political instead of economic. More precisely, we argue that the Federal Reserve System was established to allow the American Federal Government to control rent- distribution through money supply control and banking sector regulation.
    Keywords: Federal Reserve System, financial markets institutions, historical example, rent-seeking
    JEL: D72 D73 N21 E42 E58
    Date: 2011–04
  2. By: José Miguel Martínez-Carrión (Departamento de Economía Aplicada. Facultad de Economía y Empresa. Universidad de Murcia)
    Abstract: In the last decades, economic historians explore human heights to analyze secular changes produced in the biological well-being of populations and the relationship between economic growth and human development. Anthropometric data are used to complement the knowledge we have about living standards from the Industrial Revolution, such as real wages, mortality, consumption, among other indicators. With male height data of military recruitment from the early eighteenth century and several national surveys on health and height-by-age data from the European Community Panel, biological welfare trends of Europeans in the last three centuries is reconstructed in the article. The results show, on the one hand, the strong growth of European population stature from the 1850s onwards, after a period of height deterioration with unequal intensity in the majority of countries between 1750 and 1850. On the other, it emphasizes the persistence of disparities in the national averages during the late twentieth century and the strong space and territorial inequality mainly associated to environmental factors in the long term. The height increase is that some countries experienced a revolution of human growth, linked to processes of economic growth, industrialization and urbanization, and mainly to improvements in nutrition, income, education and public health.
    Keywords: Height, human growth, biological well-being, inequality, nutrition, public health, Europe
    JEL: N01 N33 N34
    Date: 2011–06
  3. By: James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik
    Abstract: Why was the Black Death followed by the decline of serfdom in Western Europe but its' intensification in Eastern Europe? What explains why involvement in Atlantic trade in the Early Modern period was positively correlated with economic growth in Britain but negatively correlated in Spain? Why did frontier expansion in the 19th Century Americas go along with economic growth in the United States and economic decline in Latin America? Why do natural resource booms seem to stimulate growth in some countries, but lead to a 'curse' in others, and why does foreign aid sometimes seem to encourage, other times impede economic growth? In this paper we argue that the response of economies to shocks or innovations in economic opportunities depends on the nature of institutions. When institutions are strong, new opportunities or windfalls can have positive effects. But when institutions are weak they can have negative effects. We present a simple model to illustrate how comparative statics are conditional on the nature of institutions and show how this perspective helps to unify a large number of historical episodes and empirical studies.
    JEL: D7 N50
    Date: 2011–06
  4. By: HISASUE Ryoichi
    Abstract: Hong Kong has played a major role as an economic and financial center in the Asia-Pacific. This role has not been simply as a "connecting point" for economic activity among different worlds, but also as a "gateway" for regulating these differences. Since opening the port in the mid-19th century, following the free trade framework under the "Era of Empires", Hong Kong has cultivated the "connections" and "flows" of people, goods, money, and information from South China to Southeast Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and inland areas of North and Central China. Later, with the emergence of a new era of globalization due to a new world order at the end of the 20th century, the rise of "Open China" makes Hong Kong once again as a gateway between China and the world. However, this role was not established in a day; rather, it is an extension of the multilevel and countless "connections"and "flows" that the city has inherited since the mid-19th century. On this basis, Hong Kong functions as part of not only the Chinese economy but also the regional and global economy even more than before.
    Date: 2011–01
  5. By: Basberg, Bjørn L. (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: The paper analyses the decline and final close down of the European Antarctic whaling industry in the 1950s and -60s. This industry had been led by British and Norwegian companies, which were now challenged by Japan and Soviet Union that completely took over Antarctic whaling for the next decades. The decline most severely affected Norway where the whaling industry was relatively more important than in any other country. The decline was also disproportionally felt in Norway because the country provided crew and equipment to many foreign whaling companies. The paper will therefore have a special focus on the Norwegian industry and how the challenges were faced there. The analysis reveals that the decline did not develop into a crisis for the companies involved or in the wider economy. One main explanation was that business cycles in shipping and in the general economy were very favourable during the years when the whaling industry was wound up.
    Keywords: Antarctic; whaling; transition; decline.
    JEL: N50 N84
    Date: 2011–05–16
  6. By: Klimov, Blagoy
    Abstract: The research employs historical institutionalism, amplified by ideas to explain path dependent political behaviour. The theoretical framework is applied to explain political behaviour in the Balkans, where Greece and Bulgaria, despite many similarities have developed highly antagonistic path-dependent policies of obstruction towards each other that remained remarkably persistent, regardless of changing external factors during most of the XX c. The main hypothesis is that such behaviour could be properly understood neither by leverage of Great Powers, nor by ancient hatreds, but by exploring the crucial role, played by path dependent institutionalized ideas (programmatic beliefs) in shaping policy outcomes. Only when ideas change- policy change does happen. The main task of this research is to outline historical ideational impediments to Balkan regional cooperation and explore if regional cooperation is attainable. The second hypothesis argues that after the 1990s EU was such a powerful idea, that for the first time since the Independence revolutions, started to successfully challenge old institutional settings in the region, that have persisted for decades, even centuries. Political elites in the region encountered a new complicated situation, having to balance between the traditional nationalist ideational contexts and the `integration and cooperation´ ideational impetus, coming from outside. The implications of this tension between continuity and change are explored in the case studies on cooperation over common infrastructure projects between Bulgaria and Greece in the period 1990-2010. So, we are considering the long-term historical force of path dependence and the possibility it can be rooted out, or at least significantly modified. The research is not only an endeavour to study the EU´s role in the Balkans, but to contribute to the growing debate in the field about the role of ideas in political life and to use such theoretical discussions, and the comparative method, to enhance our understanding of the evolution of modern EU states.
    Keywords: historical institutionalism; ideas; constructivist institutionalism; ideational theory; political decision making; path dependence; multi-level governance; democratization; Europeanization; nationalism; national doctrines; Megale Idea; San Stefano; regional cooperation; transport infrastructure; Balkans; Balkan cooperation; Greece; Bulgaria.
    JEL: H11 H7 L98 R5 Q4 N4
    Date: 2010–08–31
  7. By: Alesina, Alberto F; Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
    Abstract: This paper seeks to better understand the historical origins of current differences in norms and beliefs about the appropriate role of women in society. We test the hypothesis that traditional agricultural practices influenced the historical gender division of labor and the evolution and persistence of gender norms. We find that, consistent with existing hypotheses, the descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture, today have lower rates of female participation in the workplace, in politics, and in entrepreneurial activities, as well as a greater prevalence of attitudes favoring gender inequality. We identify the causal impact of traditional plough use by exploiting variation in the historical geo-climatic suitability of the environment for growing crops that differentially benefited from the adoption of the plough. Our IV estimates, based on this variation, support the findings from OLS. To isolate the importance of cultural transmission as a mechanism, we examine female labor force participation of second-generation immigrants living within the US.
    Keywords: beliefs; Culture; gender roles.; values
    JEL: J16 N30
    Date: 2011–06
  8. By: Marc Klemp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Jacob Weisdorf (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We take Gary Becker's child quantity-quality trade-off hypothesis to the historical record, investigating the causal link from family size to the literacy status of offspring using data from Anglican parish registers, c. 1700-1830. Extraordinarily forhistorical data, the parish records enable us to control for parental literacy, longevity and social class, as well as sex and birth order of offspring. In a world without modern contraception and among the couples whose children were not prenuptially conceived we are able to explore a novel source of exogenous variation in family size: marital fecundability as measured by the time interval from the marriage to the first birth. Consistent with previous findings among historical populations, we document a large and significantly negative effect of family size on children's literacy.
    Keywords: Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off; Demographic Transition; Industrial Revolution; Instrumental Variable Analysis; Human Capital Formation
    JEL: J13 N3 O10
    Date: 2011–05
  9. By: P. Battilani
    Abstract: Numerous studies have been made of regional differences in income and level of development in Italy, and these studies basically differ in the responses they give to the question of whether the said differences were already of a substantial nature prior to Unification, or whether in fact they have widened since then. The present essay is going to examine this problem by focusing on the local administrative system adopted after Italian Unification, in order to ascertain the existence of a different approach to public intervention at the local level, and thus to the existence of disparities in local public spending. The paper offers an analysis of the actual working of the post-Unification administrative system in Italy, in terms both of the powers attributed to Italy’s municipalities and provinces, and of the degree of autonomy they had in deciding on funding methods. This analysis aims to ascertain whether the chosen strategy could have been maintained in a state characterised by strong regional differences, and to establish the kind of impact such a strategy had on the regional differences themselves. The main conclusion is that in absence of any sort of automatic transfer from the more industrialized regions to the poor ones, the adoption of a decentralized tax system for the financing of local public expenditure contributed to the deepening of regional divide. As a consequence at the beginning of the 19th century the central government started to subsidize the poorest regions and little by little move towards a more centralized fiscal system.
    JEL: N43
    Date: 2011–05
  10. By: Björn Eriksson; Tobias Karlsson; Tim Leunig; Maria Stanfors
    Abstract: Women have, on average, been less well-paid than men throughout history. Prior to 1900, most economic historians see the gender wage gap as a reflection of men's greater strength and correspondingly higher productivity. This paper investigates the gender wage gap in cigar making around 1900. Strength was rarely an issue, but the gender wage gap was large. Two findings suggest that employers were not sexist. First, differences in earnings by gender for workers paid piece rates can be fully explained by differences in experience and other productivity-related characteristics. Second, conditioning on those characteristics, women were just as likely to be promoted to the better paying piece rate section. Neither finding is compatible with a simple model of sex-based discrimination. Instead, the gender wage gap can be decomposed into two components. First, women were typically less experienced, in an industry in which experience mattered. Second there were some jobs that required strength, for which men were better suited. Because strength was so valuable in the other jobs at this time, men commanded a wage premium in the general labour market, raising their reservation wage. Hiring a man required the firm to pay a 'man's wage'. This implies that firms that were slow to feminise their time rate workforce ended up with a higher cost structure than those that made the transition more quickly. We show that firms with a higher proportion of women in their workforce in 1863 were indeed more likely to survive 35 years later.
    Keywords: gender, productivity, discrimination, piece-rates, time-rates, labour markets, firm survival
    JEL: J16 J24 J71 J33 J40 L25
    Date: 2011–06
  11. By: Jared, Rubin
    Abstract: The causes of the Protestant Reformation have long been debated. This paper attempts to revive and econometrically test the theory that the spread of the Reformation is linked to the spread of the printing press. The proposed causal pathway is that the printing press permitted the ideas of the Reformation to reach a broader audience. I test this hypothesis by analyzing data on the spread of the press and the Reformation at the city level. An econometric analysis which instruments for omitted variable bias suggests that within the Holy Roman Empire, cities within 10 miles of a printing press by 1500 were 57.4 percentage points more likely to be Protestant by 1600. These results are robust, though the effects are weaker, across Western Europe. The analysis also suggests that the early spread of press affected religious choice into the 19th century.
    Keywords: Printing Press; Protestant Reformation; Information Technology; Revolt
    JEL: N33 Z12 N73 O33
    Date: 2011–06–03
  12. 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. The Netherlands has been the largest source country of migrants from continental Europe to New Zealand, but by 2006 40 percent of the Netherlands born were aged 65 or older. We find that there are three distinct cohorts of these migrants, each covering roughly 20 years of arrivals: a large cohort of post-war migrants (those who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s), and much smaller cohorts of skilled migrants (those who arrived in the 1970s and 1980s), and transnational professionals (those who arrived in the 1990s or more recently). Early migrants were mostly younger on arrival, more religious, less educated and had more children than the subsequent cohorts. More recent migrants are increasingly highly qualified and in high-skill occupations. “Dutch Kiwis” are more geographically dispersed than other immigrants, and more recent arrivals are relatively more often located in rural areas. This transformation of the Dutch community in New Zealand can be linked to global and New Zealand/Netherlands specific changes that 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: 2011–06
  13. By: Rydqvist, Kristian; Schwartz, Steven; Spizman, Joshua
    Abstract: A worker can contribute pre-tax dollars to a private pension plan. Under a progressive tax, this feature reduces income taxes. Ippolito (1986} argues that an individual in 1979 can reduce lifetime taxes by 20%. We re-examine his analysis using the complete time-series of US income tax history and find that the tax benefit of income smoothing is much smaller.
    Keywords: income tax history; private pensions; tax progressivity
    JEL: D91 G11 G18 G23 H24
    Date: 2011–06
  14. By: Piketty, Thomas; Postel-Vinay, Gilles; Rosenthal, Jean Laurent
    Abstract: This paper divides the population into two groups: the "inheritors" or "rentiers" (whose wealth is smaller than the capitalized value of their inherited wealth, i.e. who consumed more than their labor income during their lifetime); and the "savers" or "self-made men" (whose wealth is larger than the capitalized value of their inherited wealth, i.e. who consumed less than their labor income). Applying this simple theoretical model to a unique micro data set on inheritance and matrimonial property regimes, we find that Paris in 1872-1937 looks like a prototype "rentier society". Rentiers made about 10% of the population of Parisians but owned 70% of aggregate wealth. Rentier societies thrive when the rate of return on private wealth r is permanently and substantially larger than the growth rate g (say, r=4%-5% vs g=1%-2%). This was the case in the 19th century and early 20th century and is likely to happen again in the 21st century. In such cases top successors, by consuming part of the return to their inherited wealth, can sustain living standards far beyond what labor income alone would permit.
    Keywords: inheritance; wealth accumulation; wealth distribution
    JEL: D30 E10 E60
    Date: 2011–06
  15. By: Miguel Ramirez (Department of Economics, Trinity College)
    Abstract: This paper examines critically the role of the law of the tendency of the falling rate of profit in the geographic expansion (globalization) of competitive capitalism. It contends that Marx did not believe there was an iron-clad connection between the falling rate of profit and globalization; in addition, it argues that Marx believed that the capitalists’ insatiable search for colonial markets was driven by their desire to overcome recurrent (and growing) realization problems in the home market arising from deficient aggregate demand on the part of both workers and capitalists.
    Keywords: Geographic Expansion of Capitalism (Globalization); Law of the Falling Tendency of the Rate of Profit; Underconsumptionist Tendencies; Simple and Expanded Reproduction; Realization Crises.
    JEL: B10 B14 B24
    Date: 2011–05
  16. By: Morgan Kelly (University College Dublin); Cormac Ó Gráda (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: England’s post-Reformation demographic regime has been characterized as ‘low pressure’. Yet the evidence hitherto for the presence of a preventive check, defined as the short-run response of marriage and births to variations in living standards, is rather weak. New evidence in this paper strengthens the case for the preventive check in both medieval and early modern England. We invoke manorial data to argue the case for a preventive check on marriages in the middle ages. Our analysis of the post-1540 period, based on parish-level rather than aggregate data, finds evidence for a preventive check on marriages and births.
    Keywords: Malthus, demography, preventive check
    Date: 2011–05–30
  17. By: Alex Bryson; John Forth
    Abstract: This paper examines how employees' experiences of, and attitudes towards, work have changed over the last quarter of a century. It assesses the extent to which any developments relate to the economic cycle and to trends in the composition of the British workforce. Many of the findings are broadly positive, particularly when compared with a picture of deterioration in the late 1980s and 1990s. The onset of a major recession in the late 2000s might have been expected to herald a fundamental shift in employees' attitudes to paid work and their working environment. The impression at the time of writing is, instead, of a more muted reaction than was seen in the early 1990s - in keeping with the more muted impact of the current recession on the labour market as a whole.
    Keywords: wages, job security, employee engagement, employment relations, recession
    JEL: J28 J31 J53
    Date: 2010–12
  18. By: Michael C. Burda; Jennifer Hunt
    Abstract: Germany experienced an even deeper fall in GDP in the Great Recession than the United States with little employment loss. Employers’ reticence to hire in the preceding expansion - associated in part with a lack of confidence it would last - contributed to an employment shortfall equivalent to 40 percent of the missing employment decline in the recession. Another 20 percent may be explained by wage moderation. A third important element was the widespread adoption of working time accounts, which permit employers to avoid overtime pay if hours per worker average to standard hours over a window. We find that this provided disincentives for employers to lay off workers in the downturn. While the overall cuts in hours per worker were consistent with the severity of the Great Recession, reduction of working time account balances substituted for traditional government-sponsored short time work.
    Keywords: unemployment, Germany, Great Recession, short time work, working time accounts, Hartz reforms, extensive vs. intensive employment margin
    JEL: E24 E65 J23 J33
    Date: 2011–06
  19. By: Saikia, Dilip
    Abstract: Over the years the Indian economy has undergone a structural change in its sectoral composition: from a primary agro-based economy during 1970s, the economy has emerged as predominant in the service sector since the 1990s. This structural change and uneven pattern of growth of agriculture, industry and services sector in the post reforms period is likely to appear substantial changes in the production and demand linkages among various sectors, and in turn, could have significant implication for the growth and development process of the economy. This has triggered a renewed interest in studying the inter-relationship between agriculture and industry. The present paper is intended to examine the trends of interlinkages between the two sectors from a three sectoral perspectives for the pre- and post-reforms periods in India. The study observed that ‘agriculture-industry’ linkage has been deteriorating over the years and there has been directional change in the inter-linkages between the two sectors. Both the production and demand linkages were primarily from the industry to agriculture sector in the pre-reform period, which changed to from agriculture to industry in the post-reform period. Further, while the linkage was primarily through the production channel in the 1960s through 1980s, it translates primarily through the demand channel since 1990s.
    Keywords: Agriculture; Industry; Sectoral linkages; Indian economy
    JEL: Q1
    Date: 2010–12
  20. By: Jung, Florian; Sunde, Uwe
    Abstract: This paper studies the endogenous emergence of political regimes in societies in which productive resources are distributed unequally and institutions do not ensure political commitments. The results imply that for any level of development there exists a distribution of resources such that democracy emerges in equilibrium, but there are distributions of resources for which democracy is infeasible in equilibrium irrespective of the level of development. The model also delivers results on the stability of democracy with regard to changes in the economic and demographic environment. The results are consistent with the different political regimes that emerged in Germany after 1871.
    Keywords: Coalition Formation; Democracy; Development; Income inequality
    JEL: H10 O10 P16
    Date: 2011–06
  21. By: Siegel, Melissa (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University); Neubourg, Chris de (Unicef, and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Immigrant access to social protection in the Netherlands has changed quite markedly over time. This paper discusses the changes from an historical perspective and introduces a theoretical framework (the Welfare Pentagon) explaining how immigrants cope with (economic) hardship when they do not have access to formal social protection. The relationship between migrants and social protection in the Netherlands has been and still is marked by asymmetries in entitlements and contributions (taxes). Shifting notions of fairness throughout time to both documented and undocumented migrants are noticed and interpreted.
    Keywords: immigration, migration, social protection, social security
    JEL: H55 O15
    Date: 2011
  22. By: Kai Willführ (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Alain Gagnon (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Parental death precipitates a cascade of events leading to more or less detrimental exposures, from the sudden and dramatic interruption of parental care through the cohabitation with step parents and siblings in a recomposed family. This paper compares the effect of early parental loss on the survival of children in the past in the Krummhörn region of East Frisia (Germany) and in the French Canadians settlers of the Saint-Lawrence Valley (Quebec, Canada). The Krummhörn region was characterized by a saturated habitat with little expansion possibilities, while the opportunities for establishing a new family were virtually unlimited for the French Canadian settlers. These widely dissimilar environmental and socio-economic conditions led to contrasted impacts of early parental loss. Event history analyses with time-varying specification of family structure are used on a sample of 7,077 boys and 6,906 girls born between 1720 and 1859 in the Krummhörn region and 31,490 boys and 33,109 boys whose parents married between 1670 and 1750 in Québec. Results indicate that in both populations parental loss is associated with increased infant and child mortality. Maternal loss has a universal and consistent effect for both sexes, while the impact of paternal loss is less easy to establish and to interpret. The effect of the remarriage of the surviving spouse is population-specific: Mother’s remarriage has no effect in Krummhörn, while children in Quebec tended to benefit from the mother’s remarriage. In contrast, father’s remarriage in Krummhörn reduced dramatically the survival chances of the children born from his former marriage, while such effect was not seen for Quebec. These population-specific effects appear to be driven by availability of resources and call into question the universality of the so-called “Cinderella” effect.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2011–05
  23. By: Mark Weisbrot; Rebecca Ray
    Abstract: This paper examines data on economic growth and various social indicators for 193 countries over the past 50 years, divided into three periods: 1960-1980, 1980-2000, and 2000-2010. The paper finds that after a sharp slowdown in economic growth and in progress on social indicators during the second (1980-2000) period, there has been a recovery on both economic growth and, for many countries, a rebound in progress on social indicators (including life expectancy, adult, infant, and child mortality, and education) during the past decade. The paper discusses some of the economic and policy changes that might explain the slowdown and rebound.
    Keywords: economic development, growth, social indicators, growth failure, recovery, developing countries, education, health
    JEL: O10 O40 O11
    Date: 2011–06

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.