nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2011‒11‒07
twenty-two papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. The Rise, Expansion, and Decline of the Italian Wool-Based Textile Industries, 1100-1730: a study in international competition, transaction costs, and comparative advantage By John H. Munro
  2. Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-Reeling Clusters, 1908-1915 By Arimoto, Yutaka; Nakajima, Kentaro; Okazaki, Tetsuji
  3. U.S. monetary-policy evolution and U.S. intervention By Michael D Bordo; Owen F Humpage; Anna J Schwartz
  5. Compilation of Agricultural Production Data in Areas Currently in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh from 1901/02 to 2011/02 By Kurosaki, Takashi
  6. Preliminary discussions on the urbanization of rural areas in modern Iran By Suzuki, Hitoshi
  7. Participatory Rural Development in 1930s Japan: The Economic Rehabilitation Movement By Arimoto, Yutaka
  8. Selective Migration in New Towns: Influence on Regional Accountability in Early School Leaving By De Witte, K.; Van Klaveren, C.; Smets, A.
  9. Aiming high, falling short: the Least Developed Country (LDC) category at 40 By Fialho de Oliveira Ramos, D.N.
  10. In brief...Cotton and Cars: the Huge Gains from Process Innovation By Tim Leunig; Joachim Voth
  11. 貿易自由化の政治経済学:戦後日本のケース By 岡崎, 哲二
  13. Knowledge Sharing among Inventors: Some Historical Perspectives By James Bessen; Alessandro Nuvolari
  14. Globalization and the Industrial Revolution By Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti; Pessôa, Samuel; Santos, Marcelo Rodrigues
  15. La vie et la mort du marché de l’or à la Bourse de Paris de 1948 à 2004. By Thi Hong Van Hoang
  16. The Role of the Courts in Economic Development: The Case of Prewar Japan By Nakabayashi, Masaki; Okazaki, Tetsuji
  19. Common tongue: The impact of language on economic performance By Jain, Tarun
  20. Les courants fondateurs et leur héritage By Alain Béraud
  21. O colonial tardio e aeconomia do Rio de Janeiro na segunda metade do setecentos: 1750-90 By Fábio Pesavento
  22. Early contract renegotiation: An analysis of U.S. labor contracts from 1970 to 1995 By Robert Rich; Joseph Tracy

  1. By: John H. Munro
    Abstract: This (revised) study seeks to examine the rise, expansion, and ultimate decline of the Italian wool-based textile industries over a period of six centuries (from ca. 1100 to ca. 1730). An international trade model combining transaction costs and comparative advantage is employed to explain the changing fortunes of the Italian cloth industries over these six centuries, in competition with their major northern rivals, in the Low Countries and England, who fought for market dominance both within Europe and abroad, in the Islamic world, in particular the Mamlūk and then Ottoman domains in the Levant (eastern Mediterranean). The transaction costs model is used to explain in particular which branches of this textile industry fared better and which fared worse during the Commercial Revolution era (ca. 1100-ca.1320), the so-called Great Depression era (ca. 1320-ca. 1460), the ensuing economic recovery and Price Revolution era (ca. 1460-ca. 1620), the General Crisis of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries (ca. 1620-ca.1740), to the eve of the Industrial Revolution era. One of the major errors in the literature is the failure to distinguish between the two main branches of the wool-based cloth industries, the technology of their industrial production, their relative prices, and markets, and the impact of transaction costs in international trade. For much of this era, the leading branch was the luxury-oriented woollens industry (Old Draperies), based on very fine, short-stapled English and then Spanish merino wools, producing fulled, heavy-weight, and generally high priced cloths. In the earlier and later periods, the other branch prevailed (New Draperies): the lighter-weight (unfulled), generally coarser and cheaper fabrics that were either full worsteds (cheap, coarse, long-stapled wools) or serges (hybrids with worsted warps and woollen wefts). The transition from a predominance of the lighter, worsted-style fabrics to the heavy-weight woollens, throughout western Europe, took place from the 1290s, with a rapid rise in transaction costs that were the direct and indirect result of a spreading stain of international warfare, especially injurious to overland trade routes, combined with a drastic fall in population, that engulfed most of Europe and the Mediterranean basin until the 1460s. That rise in transportation and transaction costs (determined by market scale economies) set a cost-price floor below which international trade in cheaper textiles became unprofitable: so much so that most West European wool-based industries re-oriented their production towards luxury markets, with far higher prices sustained by price-making monopolistic competition better able to withstand the rise of such costs, an impossible solution for those marketing cheap textiles as price-takers in Mediterranean markets. Such problems were less severe for the Italian industries, whose markets were chiefly in the Mediterranean; and thus the transition to luxury production was far less complete than in the north. The comparative advantage model is based on the price that woollen-cloth producers in both the Low Countries and Italy had to pay in that luxury re-orientation: a total dependence on the finest English wools as the prime component of luxury quality. From the late 1330s, English monarchs took advantage of that dependence by imposing exorbitant taxes on wool-exports, with even higher taxes imposed on Italian merchants, ultimately depriving them of almost all such wools by the early fifteenth century. At the same time, English clothiers were able to weave luxury-quality cloths from the very same wools, but free of any such taxes, giving them an almost insuperable cost advantage over all foreign woollen manufacturers. But England's comparative advantage in its wool supply, though finally giving them mastery of northern markets for luxury woollens, was undermined, during the later fifteenth, early sixteenth century, by the development of fine but much cheaper merino wools in Spain, which Italians could acquire with lower transport costs. The other change undermining the supremacy of English and other woollens industry was the sharp fall in transaction costs by the late fifteenth, early sixteenth centuries: with the decline in warfare, the recovery and growth of population, and with technological advances in both ocean and land transport, especially the latter with a major transition in long-distance trade from maritime to overland continental routes. Along with that decline in costs came a revival and expansion of the lighter, cheaper textile industries, though chiefly in the Low Countries and England, more so than in Italy, despite the continued predominance of Mediterranean markets. For woollens, the Italian industries, especially the Venetian, gained the comparative advantage in wools: with much cheaper access to (now more expensive) Spanish merinos. But in the Mediterranean and especially Ottoman markets the English finally gained supremacy over both the Florentine and Venetian woollens industries, by the later seventeenth century, from a new comparative advantage, in capital formation: from superior business organization (the new joint stock companies) and naval power (large, heavily gunned, swift carracks). The so-called General Crisis era of the later seventeenth century had again favoured maritime routes, and thus sea-power, over land routes. At the same time the Tudor-Stuart enclosure movements, in transforming English sheep -- from small sheep with fine short-stapled to larger (meatier) sheep with coarser, long-stapled fleeces, gave England's worsted-style New Draperies a comparative advantage in wool supplies over all its continental rivals, including the Italian; and by the 1730s, both branches of the Italian wool-based textile industries had succumbed to foreign competition, and become moribund.
    Keywords: wools; woollens; worsteds; serges; rascie; dyestuffs; scarlets; transaction costs; comparative advantage; Florence; Tuscany; Lombardy; Venetia; Venice; Ottoman Empire; Old Draperies; New Draperies; Spain; merino wools; Enclosures; Levant Company
    JEL: D23 D43 E32 F10 H25 J11 J21 L14 L23 L79 L91 N63 N73
    Date: 2011–10–17
  2. 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
    JEL: R12 O18 L10
    Date: 2011–02
  3. By: Michael D Bordo; Owen F Humpage; Anna J Schwartz
    Abstract: The United States all but abandoned its foreign-exchange-market intervention operations in late 1995, when they proved corrosive to the credibility of the Federal Reserve?s commitment to price stability. We view this decision as the culmination of the evolution of U.S. monetary policy over the past century from a gold standard to a fiat money regime. The abandonment of intervention was necessary to secure monetary policy credibility.
    Keywords: Foreign exchange market ; Monetary policy - United States ; Federal Open Market Committee
    Date: 2011
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Kurosaki, Takashi
    Abstract: This paper presents estimates for agricultural production data in areas currently in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh from 1901/02 to 2001/02. A salient feature of these estimates is that they correspond to current international borders. The British Empire of India, which was broken up in 1947 (in the so-called “Partition” of the Indian subcontinent), covered areas of what are now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Although a rich accumulation of statistical documents is available from the colonial period, there has been no rigorous attempt to compile statistics corresponding to the current borders during a period that includes years prior to 1947. This is because the Partition broke up the Empire of India not only at the provincial level (for which data are readily available) but also at the district or lower levels of administration. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap, focusing on production in crop farming in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Since neither the states of Pakistan and Bangladesh nor the concept of such nations existed during the early decades of the twentieth century, this exercise is hypothetical to some extent. Nevertheless, because farming activities are carried out on the soil of a region irrespective of its political designation, the estimates presented in this paper could shed new light on agricultural development in the three countries over the long term.
    Date: 2011–02
  6. By: Suzuki, Hitoshi
    Abstract: In this translation draft of the first part of the author's recently-published book in Japanese, entitled as "Rural-cities in Contemporary Iran: Revolution, War and the Structural Changes in the Rural Society," we are presenting the preliminary discussions on Iranian middle-sized cities and towns which emerged in these 30 years or so. We start from the explanations of the contents of the above-mentioned book and do the reviewing of the preceding studies, followed by the critical review of the studies on the Iranian revolution in 1979, and the studies on Iran's recent political trends and the tendencies towards the local governance, which was tempered and collapsed with the appearance of President AhmadÄ«nejÄd. This consists of the Introduction and the first parts of Chapter 1 of our book, and we are expecting to finish translating the whole contents and to publish it in the near future. We apologize for the shortcomings of this paper, for example some partial lack of correspondence of its bibliography with the main contents, mainly because of the technical reasons.
    Keywords: Iran, Rural societies, Urbanization, Social change, Social structure
    Date: 2011–03
  7. By: Arimoto, Yutaka
    Abstract: This paper studies an early participatory rural development program implemented during the 1930s in Japan. This program selected several villages each year to draft and implement their own original development plans. I discuss the implications of the features of the program on its effectiveness. A detailed baseline survey conducted by the villagers themselves helped them to objectively diagnose their economic situations and understand their issues. The plans defined clear numerical targets, allowing them to share goals and monitor progress. The implementation of the plan was reinforced by frequent communication and monitoring among neighbors and by an incentive scheme that involved competition within a village. I use a village-level panel dataset from the Hyogo prefecture to examine the effects, under the difference-in-differences strategy. I find suggestive evidence that the program helped foster the adoption of cattle raising and diversify agricultural production.
    Keywords: Participatory development, Rural development program, Crop diversification, Great Depression, Japan
    JEL: O10 N55 R58
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: De Witte, K.; Van Klaveren, C.; Smets, A.
    Abstract: In an attempt to stop the rampant suburbanization, which countries experienced after World War II, a 'new town' policy was enrolled. As a major objective, and related to its origins, new towns were effective in attracting low and medium income households. Nowadays, cities and municipalities experience an increased accountability in which incentives are provided by 'naming and shaming'. This paper focuses on an issue where both historical and local policy come together: early school leaving. Using an iterative matching analysis, it suggests how to account for differences in population and regional characteristics. In other words, how to compare and interpret early school leaving in new towns in a more `fair' way. The results point out that (statistically) mitigating historical differences is necessary, even though this does not necessarily means that 'naming' is replaced by 'shaming'.
    Keywords: Urban Economics; New Town; Early School Leaving; Naming and Shaming; Iterative Matching, Urban Planning
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Fialho de Oliveira Ramos, D.N.
    Abstract: Abstract:This paper analyses the motivation behind the UN decision to establish the LDC category in 1971. The reviewed literature highlights conflicting interests of the actors involved. It provides a historical account of the creation of the category and an international political economy analysis of that process. Based on this literature, I argue that the initial LDC identification process - which set a precedent for future LDC categorizations - was manipulated in order to generate a reduced list of small and economically and politically insignificant countries. Contrary to the LDC official narrative, this list served the interests of both donors (by undermining UN’s implicit effort to normalize international assistance) and other non-LDC developing countries (disturbed by the creation of a positive discrimination within the group, favouring the most disadvantaged among them). As a result of this manipulation, considerably less development-promoting efforts are demanded from donors; which, in turn, does not significantly distress the interests of other non-LDC, more advanced developing countries.
    Keywords: trade;aid;LDCs;UN;graduation;special and preferential treatment
    Date: 2011–09–21
  10. By: Tim Leunig; Joachim Voth
    Abstract: New inventions are good for economic growth, but equally important are improvements in the way we make things - what's known as process innovation. Tim Leunig and Joachim Voth measure the impact of two such innovations - mechanical cotton spinning and the motorcar assembly line - on the world's material wellbeing.
    Keywords: Process innovations, new goods, welfare, consumer surplus, mechanisation, mass production, automobiles, cotton, industrial revolution, second industrial revolution
    JEL: N22 N24 O31 O40
    Date: 2011–10
  11. By: 岡崎, 哲二
    Abstract: This paper investigates the sequence of trade liberalization in postwar Japan and its determinants. As the Japanese government utilized the foreign exchange allocation system as a tool for the industrial policy, especially for protecting domestic industries, in the 1950s, trade liberalization was considered to give a serious impact on those industries, and designing the sequence of trade liberalization was an important policy issue. We indentified the timing of liberalization of each commodity using original official documents, and examined what factors affected on the timing. It was found that in designing the sequence of trade liberalization, the government took into account of competitiveness of domestic industries and survivability of small and medium-sized firms.
    Keywords: Trade liberalization, Political economy, Industrial policy, Foreign exchange, Japan
    JEL: F13 F14 N45 O24 P48
    Date: 2011–01
    Date: 2011
  13. By: James Bessen; Alessandro Nuvolari
    Abstract: This chapter documents instances from past centuries where inventors freely shared knowledge of their innovations with other inventors. It is widely believed that such knowledge sharing is a recent development, as in Open Source Software. Our survey shows, instead, that innovators have long practiced ?collective invention? at times, including in such key technologies as steam engines, iron, steel, and textiles. Generally, innovator behavior was substantially richer than the heroic portrayal often found in textbooks and museums. Knowledge sharing sometimes coexisted with patenting, at other times, not, suggesting the importance of policy that accommodates knowledge sharing to foster cumulative innovation.
    Keywords: technological change, knowledge sharing, collective invention, patents
    JEL: N70 O33 O34
    Date: 2011–10–13
  14. By: Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti; Pessôa, Samuel; Santos, Marcelo Rodrigues
    Date: 2011–10
  15. By: Thi Hong Van Hoang (Professeur assistant en Finance au Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School, Montpellier Recherche en Management, 2300 avenue des Moulins, 34185 Montpellier.)
    Date: 2011
  16. By: Nakabayashi, Masaki; Okazaki, Tetsuji
    Abstract: In this paper, we explore the role of the legal system in economic development, focusing on its relationship to the role of private mechanisms in contract enforcement. We use long-term prefecture-level panel data that cover the early stages of industrialization and urbanization in Japan. We found that industrialization increased the demand for civil lawsuits, but that this was conditional on urbanization. In other words, increased demand for civil suits occurred only where industrialization and urbanization simultaneously progressed. At the same time, the inefficiency of the legal system impeded industrial growth, but only conditional on urbanization. That is, the inefficiency of the legal system impeded industrialization only in urban areas. These findings suggest that community-based contract enforcement mechanisms worked in rural areas and that these mechanisms were replaced by the formal legal system as urbanization progressed and community ties declined.
    Keywords: Court, Law, Contract Enforcement, Economic Development, Japan
    JEL: K10 O12 N45
    Date: 2011–01
    Date: 2011
    Date: 2011
  19. By: Jain, Tarun
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of language on economic performance. I use the 1956 reorganization of Indian states on linguistic lines as a natural experiment to estimate the impact of speaking the majority language on educational and occupational outcomes. I find that districts that spoke the majority language of the state during colonial times enjoy persistent economic benefits, as evidenced by higher educational achievement and employment in communication intensive sectors. After reorganization, historically minority language districts experience greater growth in educational achievement, indicating that reassignment could reverse the impact of history.
    Keywords: Language; Communication costs; Education; Occupational choice; Reorganization of Indian states
    JEL: I20 O43 O15 N95
    Date: 2011–11–01
  20. By: Alain Béraud (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)
    Abstract: Cet article retrace les grandes lignes de l'évolution de la théorie économique en s'interrogeant sur la pertinence et l'actualité de la contribution des économistes du passé.
    Keywords: Histoire de la pensée économique
    Date: 2011–08
  21. By: Fábio Pesavento
    Date: 2011
  22. By: Robert Rich; Joseph Tracy
    Abstract: This paper examines the ex post flexibility of U.S. labor contracts during the 1970-95 period by investigating whether unanticipated changes in inflation increase the likelihood of a contract being renegotiated prior to its expiration. We find strong empirical support for this hypothesis. Specifically, our results indicate that renegotiations are triggered principally by large and infrequent price shocks of either sign. When combined with evidence that ex ante contract durations are shorter during episodes of increased inflation uncertainty, our results suggest that these contracts are flexible both ex ante and ex post to changes in the evolution of inflation.
    Keywords: Labor contract ; Inflation (Finance) ; Uncertainty
    Date: 2011

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