nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2011‒08‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. The Role of Stakeholders in Accounting of Private Patrimonies The Management Of The Osuna Ducal Estate (1590-1633) By Jesús Damian Lopez Manjon
  2. A behavioral approach to the political and economic inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations By Boettke, Peter
  3. Rock, scissors, paper: the problem of incentives and information in traditional Chinese state and the origin of Great Divergence By Ma, Debin
  4. How have Europeans Grown so Tall? By Hatton, Timothy J.
  5. The Long Run Demand for Lighting: Elasticities and Rebound Effects in Different Phases of Economic Development By Roger Fouquet; Peter J.G Pearson
  6. Angus Maddison and Development Economics By Szirmai, Adam
  7. The Economic Integration of Forced Migrants: Evidence for Post-War Germany By Bauer, Thomas; Braun, Sebastian; Kvasnicka, Michael
  8. Household Debt in Seventeenth-Century Württemberg: Evidence from Personal Inventories By Ogilvie, S.; Küpker, M.; Maegraith, J.
  9. "What Ended the Great Depression? Reevaluating the Role of Fiscal Policy" By Nathan Perry; Matias Vernengo
  10. Defying Gravity: The 1932 Imperial Economic Conference and the Reorientation of Canadian Trade By David S. Jacks
  11. The regional economic structure of Brazil in 1959: an overview based on an inter-State input-output system By Barros, Gustavo; Guilhoto, Joaquim José Martins
  12. Charitable Giving for Overseas Development: UK trends over a quarter century By Anthony B. Atkinson; Peter G. Backus; John Micklewright; Cathy Pharoah; Sylke V. Schnepf

  1. By: Jesús Damian Lopez Manjon (Department of Business Administration, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to test the validity of the stakeholder approach in a historical context (16th and 17th century), very different to the one in which the theory was originally developed and has normally been used. For this purpose, the paper deals with management in the Osuna Ducal Estate at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century. In that period, the Ducal Estate reached such a high level of indebtedness that creditors could not even collect the interest on their loans. This led them to lodge a complaint with the Crown and consequently, as of 1590, the Ducal Estate patrimony was seized by the Government. Since the changes that occurred in the ODE patrimony were promoted by creditors and the Crown, the stakeholder approach has been applied to analyse the case. We can conclude that stakeholder approach is sufficiently able to explain the changes that took place in the management of the Osuna Ducal Estate in the 16th and 17th century and, mainly, the role of accounting in these changes.
    Keywords: Accounting History, Stakeholder Approach, Aristocratic Accounting, 16th and 17th century
    Date: 2011–04
  2. By: Boettke, Peter
    Abstract: Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity (2010) represents another breakthrough work in her career, and the second volume in a multi-volume work on the economic and intellectual history of western civilization. In a sense, the subtitle of the book explains well what this volume is all about--why economics can’t explain the modern world. An important modifier would be – modern economics can’t explain the modern world – because much of what McCloskey argues is the resurrection of an older argument that was associated with classical liberal political economists from Smith, Bastiat, Mises, Hayek and Friedman. Fundamentally, she reasserts the power of ideas to shape the world. McCloskey’s narrative is simple and compelling -- materialist stories (whether technological, genetic, or institutional) do not work; incentive based stories do not provide a complete picture of why some countries grew rich while others remained poor, let alone for the exact timing for the divergence in the wealth and poverty of nations with the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th century. McCloskey proposes that incentive based explanations must reside within a broader narrative that addresses values and beliefs, as well as institutions, technologies, and material conditions. In doing so, McCloskey paves the way for a true behavioral approach to a political and economic inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.
    Keywords: Economic History; Economic Development; Industrial Revolution
    JEL: O10 N00 P10
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Ma, Debin
    Abstract: This article posits that the political institution of imperial China – its unitary and centralized ruling structure – is an essential determinant to China‘s long-run economic trajectory and its early modern divergence from Western Europe. Drawing on institutional economics, I demonstrate that monopoly rule, a long time-horizon and the large size of the empire could give rise to a path of low-taxation and dynastic stability in imperial China. But fundamental incentive misalignment and information asymmetry problems within its centralized and hierarchical political structure also constrained the development the fiscal and financial capacity of the Chinese state. Based on a reconstruction of two millennia records of incidences of warfare, this paper develops a narrative to show that the establishment and consolidation towards a single unitary monopoly of political power was an endogenous historical process. Using data series on warfare and government revenue for 17-19th century, I illustrate the Qing imperial rule as an epitome of the traditional Chinese political economy.
    JEL: O53 N0
    Date: 2011–07
  4. By: Hatton, Timothy J.
    Abstract: Increases in human stature are seen as a key indicator of improvement in the average health of populations. The literature associates stature with a variety of socioeconomic variables, and much of the focus is on the nineteenth century and on the last 50 years. In this paper I present and analyse a new dataset for the average height of adult male cohorts, from the mid-nineteenth century to 1980, in fifteen European countries. In little more than a century average height increased by 11cm--representing a dramatic improvement in health. Interestingly, there was a distinct acceleration in the period spanning the two World Wars and the Great Depression. I examine the influence of socioeconomic variables on height through the two key channels: nutrition and the disease environment. The evidence suggests that the most important single cause of increasing height was the improving disease environment as reflected by the fall in infant mortality. Rising income and education and falling family size had more modest effects. Improvements in health care are hard to identify and the effects of the welfare state spending seem to have been small.
    Keywords: Health; Human Stature; Twentieth Century Europe
    JEL: I12 I38 N24
    Date: 2011–07
  5. By: Roger Fouquet; Peter J.G Pearson
    Abstract: The provision of artificial light was revolutionised by a series of discontinuous innovations in lighting appliances, fuels, infrastructures and institutions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Britain, the real price of lighting fell dramatically (3,000-fold between 1800 and 2000) and quality rose. Along with rises in real income and population, these developments meant that total consumption of lighting was 40,000 times greater by2000 than in 1800. The paper presents estimates of the income and price elasticities of demand for lighting services over the past three hundred years, and explores how they evolved. Income and price elasticities increased dramatically (to 3.5 and -1.7, respectively) between the 1840s and the 1890s and fell rapidly in the twentieth century. Even in the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century, rebound effects in the lighting market still appear to be potentially important. This paper provides a first case study of the long run effects of socio-economic change and technological innovation on the consumption of energy services in the UK. We suggest that understanding the evolution of the demand for energy services and the factors that influence it contributes to a better understanding of future energy uses and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
    Keywords: Energy Services, Demand, Economic Development, Rebound Effect
    Date: 2011–07
  6. By: Szirmai, Adam (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: This paper was prepared for the Angus Maddison Memorial conference, held in November 2010 at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. The paper reflects on Angus Maddison's contributions to development economics. It focuses on the following issues: 1. quantification in development economics and the framework of proximate and ultimate causality in growth and development; 2 the debate about levels of GDP per capita in the middle of the eighteenth century; 3 Maddison versus the Malthusians; 4 measurement of Chinese Economic Performance in the long run; 5. the impact of Western expansion on the non-Western world and 6. the role of institutions in economic development.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Development Economics, GDP per capita, China, Western Expansion, Institutions
    JEL: N10 O10
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Bauer, Thomas (RWI); Braun, Sebastian (Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Kvasnicka, Michael (RWI)
    Abstract: The flight and expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe during and after World War II constitutes one of the largest forced population movements in history. We analyze the economic integration of these forced migrants and their offspring in West Germany. The empirical results suggest that even a quarter of a century after displacement, first generation migrants and native West Germans that were comparable before the war perform strikingly different. Migrants have substantially lower incomes and are less likely to own a house or to be self-employed. Displaced agricultural workers, however, have significantly higher incomes. This income gain can be explained by faster transitions out of low-paid agricultural work. Differences in the labor market performance of second generation migrants resemble those of the first generation. We also find that displacement considerably weakens the intergenerational transmission of human capital between fathers and children, especially at the lower tail of the skill distribution.
    Keywords: forced migration, economic integration, World War II, West Germany
    JEL: J61 O15 R23
    Date: 2011–07
  8. By: Ogilvie, S.; Küpker, M.; Maegraith, J.
    Abstract: The “less-developed” interior of early modern Europe, especially the rural economy, is often regarded as financially comatose. This paper investigates this view using a rich dataset of marriage and death inventories for seventeenth-century Germany. It first analyzes how borrowing varied with gender, age, marital status, occupation, lifecycle juncture, date, and asset portfolios. It then explores the characteristics of debts, examining borrowing purposes, familial links, intracommunal ties, and documentary instruments. It finds that ordinary people, even in a “less-developed” economy in rural central Europe, sought to invest profitably, smooth consumption, bridge low liquidity, and hold savings in financial form.
    JEL: N23 G11 O12 D14
    Date: 2011–07–25
  9. By: Nathan Perry; Matias Vernengo
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom contends that fiscal policy was of secondary importance to the economic recovery in the 1930s. The recovery is then connected to monetary policy that allowed non-sterilized gold inflows to increase the money supply. Often, this is shown by measuring the fiscal multipliers, and demonstrating that they were relatively small. This paper shows that problems with the conventional measures of fiscal multipliers in the 1930s may have created an incorrect consensus on the irrelevance of fiscal policy. The rehabilitation of fiscal policy is seen as a necessary step in the reinterpretation of the positive role of New Deal policies for the recovery.
    Keywords: Fiscal Policy; Great Depression
    JEL: E62 E63 N12
    Date: 2011–07
  10. By: David S. Jacks
    Abstract: In the wake of the Great Depression, the Canadian government embarked on a stunning reversal in its commercial policy. A key element of its response was the promotion of intra-imperial trade at the Imperial Economic Conference of 1932. This paper addresses whether or not Canadian trade was able to defy gravity and divert trade flows towards other signatories at Ottawa. The results strongly suggest that the conference was a failure from the Canadian perspective. Potential sources of this failure include unreasonable expectations about the likely reductions in trade costs and a neglect of key considerations related to certainty and credibility.
    JEL: F1 N7
    Date: 2011–07
  11. By: Barros, Gustavo; Guilhoto, Joaquim José Martins
    Abstract: This paper aims at describing the regional configuration of 1959 Brazil’s productive structure through the estimation of an Inter-State Input-Output system. The estimated matrix is the oldest of this kind for Brazil. It can, hence, be an important tool for the study of the regional productive structure at an historical moment in which the regional question appeared as a central national issue. In this paper we describe estimation procedures and sources of data, and present some general characterization of the regional structure of the economy in 1959 through selected structural indicators.
    Keywords: Regional Economic Structure; Brazil; Input-Output; Economic Development; Industrialization
    JEL: R15
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Anthony B. Atkinson (Nuffield College, Oxford, and London School of Economics.); Peter G. Backus (University of Southampton and University of Warwick.); John Micklewright (Depatment of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.); Cathy Pharoah (CASS Business School, City University.); Sylke V. Schnepf (University of Southampton.)
    Abstract: Charitable giving is an important source of funding for overseas development and emergency relief. Donations in the UK are about a quarter of the size of government development aid. There has been strong growth over time, reflecting the activities of development charities and the public response to humanitarian emergencies. The paper examines how this charitable giving has changed since 1978, using a newly constructed panel data set on donations to individual UK charities. When did the increase take place? Did the public respond to events such as Live Aid or has there been a steady upward trend? What has been the relationship with changes in household income? Which charities have grown fastest? Have new charities displaced old? How do changes in giving for overseas compare with changes in giving for other causes?
    Keywords: charitable giving, overseas development
    JEL: D1 F35 L3
    Date: 2011–07–22

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