nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2012‒02‒27
25 papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Money and monetary system in China in the 19th-20th century: an overview By Ma, Debin
  2. Italy and the first age of Globalization, 1861-1940 By Harold James; Kevin H. O’Rourke
  3. A Three-Decade “Kuhnian” History of the Antebellum Puzzle: Explaining the shrinking of the US population at the onset of modern economic growth By Komlos, John
  4. How much trade liberalization was there in the world before and after Cobden-Chevalier? By Antonio Tena Junguito; Markus Lampe; Felipe Tâmega
  5. Central Banking for the 21st Century: An American Perspective By Paul Wachtel
  6. Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times By Denis Cogneau; Alexander Moradi
  7. Gateway cities and urbanisation in southeast asia before world war II By Gregg Huff
  8. The Market for Paintings in Italy during the Seventeenth Century By Federico Etro; Laura Pagani
  9. A Historical Note on the Beauty Contest By Christoph Bühren; Björn Frank; Rosemarie Nagel
  10. The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation By Chan, Gabriel; Stavins, Robert; Stowe, Robert; Sweeney, Richard
  11. Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China By Latika Chaudhary; Aldo Musacchio; Steven Nafziger; Se Yan
  12. Democratization and Civic Capital By Luigi Guiso; Paolo Pinotti
  13. Identifying Fiscal Policy (In)effectiveness from the Differential Adoption of Keynesianism in the Interwar Period By Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau; Gregor W. Smith
  14. Veterans, Organizational Skill and Ethnic Cleansing: Evidence from the Partition of South Asia By Jha, Saumitra; Wilkinson, Steven
  15. Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England By Eric Schneider
  16. When Economics Faces the Economy: John Bates Clark and the 1914 Antitrust Legislation By Luca Fiorito
  17. The comovement between height and some economic development indicators in Spain By Maria-Dolores, Ramon; Martínez Carrion, José Miguel
  18. Macroeconomic Effects of Corporate Default Crises: A Long-Term Perspective By Kay Giesecke; Francis A. Longstaff; Stephen Schaefer; Ilya Strebulaev
  19. Celebrating 150 Years of Analyzing Fertility Trends in Germany By Kendzia, Michael J.; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  20. Crisis in the Irish Banking System By Blánaid Clarke; Niamh Hardiman
  21. Sharing the Future: Financial Innovation and Innovators in Solving the Political Economy Challenges of Development By Jha, Saumitra
  22. Economics, education and religion: can western theories be generalized across religions? By Yazdani, Naveed; Mamoon, Dawood
  23. Imachi Nkwu: Trade and the commons By Fenske, James
  24. The Political Economy of European Monetary Union By A. R. Nobay
  25. The law of survival of the political class: an analysis of the Italian Parliament (1946-2010) By Silvia Fedeli; Francesco Forte

  1. By: Ma, Debin
    Abstract: This article provides an historical overview on the development of Chinese money and monetary regimes between about 1800 and 1950. It develops a simple conceptual framework based on the relative costs of assessing the inherent value of the currencies of different denomination. Based on this framework, I develop a historical narrative that ties important political and institutional changes with the evolving structural changes in the Chinese monetary regime marked by the vicissitudes in the use of copper, silver currencies and paper money in both the private and public financial sectors from the Opium War in mid-19th century to the end of the Civil War in the 1950s.
    JEL: O53 N0
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: Harold James (Department of History, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544, USA); Kevin H. O’Rourke (All Souls College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 4AL, UK)
    Abstract: The paper presents trade policy as in line with that of other continental European powers, with a move to moderate levels of tariff protection for politically sensitive sectors such as steel and textiles and clothing, but also in agriculture, with levels of protection falling slightly before the First World War. Monetary policy was similarly driven by the constraints of capital scarcity, and by the political priority attached to reducing the cost of funding government debt. The most innovative area was probably in industrial policy, where after the 1880s and again in the 1930s in response to severe shocks, quite creative institutional policies were adopted. In particular financial restructuring was used as an opportunity to reshape the structure of industry.
    Keywords: Comparative Economic History, Industrial Policy, Monetary Policy, Monetary Regime, Trade Policy.
    JEL: N23 N24 N73 N74
    Date: 2012–02–20
  3. By: Komlos, John
    Abstract: In 1979, when anthropometric history was still in its infancy, Robert Fogel and collaborators reported that the height of the US male white population began to decline quite unexpectedly around the birth cohorts of 1830. This was quite a conundrum on account of the fact that according to conventional economic theory nutritional status was not expected to diminish at the outset of modern economic growth, i.e., at a time when incomes were growing robustly. Although many hypotheses were offered, not until 1987 was the comprehensive solution to the puzzle offered that the height decline was due primarily to a decline in food consumption: agricultural productivity did not keep pace with rapid population growth and urbanization. However, it took a third of a century for a Kuhnian paradigm shift to occur until most of the participants in the debate accepted the model elucidated by Komlos in 1987.
    Keywords: Anthropometric history; Heights; Thomas Kuhn; Paradigm shift; USA; Antebellum Puzzle; Living Standards
    JEL: B20 B25 N00
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Antonio Tena Junguito; Markus Lampe; Felipe Tâmega
    Abstract: Cobden-Chevalier is regarded as the main episode in trade liberalization, generating a harmonious period of free trade that compares favorably with the period before the 1860s or even with the more recent GATT era. But was it really the turning point for nineteenth-century trade liberalization? The paper analyzes whether Cobden-Chevalier was an exclusively Rich European phenomenon or whether it spread trade liberalization evenly around the world. In order to answer these interconnected questions the paper offers a new database covering more than 7,500 data points for an extended group of 23 manufactured products in eleven categories in 41 countries and colonies around the world for selected years during the period 1846-1880. We see that world trade liberalization had been on the increase at least since 1846, when Britain unilaterally moved to free trade. However, in the European core of the world economy, bilateralism after Cobden-Chevalier Treaty led to more profound liberalization than in the 1850s; it also affected other countries in the European Periphery in a more moderate way. We also see that, on a world scale, the history of trade policy between 1846 and 1880 was not a uniform parallel to developments in Europe, but shows a marked variety of episodes and outcomes
    Keywords: International trade, World commercial policy, World tariff history, Protectionism, Liberalization, Cobden-Chevalier
    JEL: F13 N70 O24
    Date: 2012–02
  5. By: Paul Wachtel
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Denis Cogneau; Alexander Moradi
    Abstract: When European powers partitioned Africa, individuals of otherwise homogeneous communities were divided and found themselves randomly assigned to one coloniser. This provides for a natural experiment: applying a border discontinuity analysis to Ghana and Togo, we test what impact coloniser’s policies really made. Using a new data set of men recruited to the Ghana colonial army 1908-1955, we find literacy and religious beliefs to diverge between British and French mandated part of Togoland as early as in the 1920s. We attribute this to the different policies towards missionary schools. The British administration pursued a ”grant-in-aid” policy of missionary schools, whereas the French restricted missionary activities. The divergence is only visible in the Southern part. In the North, as well as at the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso (former French Upper Volta), educational and evangelization efforts were weak on both sides and hence, did not produce any marked differences. Using contemporary survey data we find that border effects originated at colonial times still persist today.
    Keywords: Economic History, Africa, Colonization, Education
    JEL: O12 R12 P52
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Gregg Huff (Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 1DW, UK)
    Abstract: Between the 1870s and World War II, falls in world shipping costs and Western industrialisation gave rise to export-led Southeast Asian growth and specialization in a narrow range of primary commodity exports. A linked development was the emergence of a few dominant Southeast Asian urban centres, typically primate and always ports. Drawing on historical census data, this paper uses rank-size distributions and transition matrices to investigate the influence of commodity specialisation and exports on urban systems development in the region. It is argued that different commodities produced different spread effects, resulting in variation in degrees of urban concentration in the region. However, geography, path dependence and infrastructure also shaped urban systems development. The main cities that emerged during this period became the ‘gateways’ that connected frontier Southeast Asia to the global economy.
    Keywords: urbanisation; gateway cities; agglomeration effects; export-led growth; staple exports; urban systems; rank-size distributions; transition matrices
    JEL: N15 N95 R11
    Date: 2012–02–22
  8. By: Federico Etro; Laura Pagani
    Abstract: We study the Seventeenth century market for figurative paintings in Italy analyzing original contracts between patrons and artists. We show that a number of supply and demand factors affected prices. We find a positive and concave relation between prices and size of paintings reflecting economies of scale. We show evidence of a positive relationship between prices and the number of figures depicted. Trade in paintings was sufficient to equalize prices between different destinations. Finally, we provide support for the Galenson hypothesis of a positive relation between age of experimental artists and quality as priced by the market.
    Date: 2012–01
  9. By: Christoph Bühren (University of Kassel); Björn Frank (University of Kassel); Rosemarie Nagel (University Pompeu Fabra)
    Abstract: Alain Ledoux, who was one of over 6,000 chess players taking part in Bühren and Frank´s (2012) online Beauty Contest experiment, turned out to be the forgotten inventor of that game. We reconstruct the birth of the Beauty Contest. In section 1 of our note, its first two authors outline the history of the game that metamorphosed into the famous guessing game experiment which was first run in the lab by Rosemarie Nagel. In section 2, Rosemarie Nagel adds further remarks and thoughts about the development of the experimental Beauty Contest.
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Chan, Gabriel (Harvard University); Stavins, Robert (Harvard University); Stowe, Robert (Harvard University); Sweeney, Richard (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The introduction of the U.S. SO2 allowance-trading program to address the threat of acid rain as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 is a landmark event in the history of environmental regulation. The program was a great success by almost all measures. This paper, which draws upon a research workshop and a policy roundtable held at Harvard in May 2011, investigates critically the design, enactment, implementation, performance, and implications of this path-breaking application of economic thinking to environmental regulation. Ironically, cap and trade seems especially well suited to addressing the problem of climate change, in that emitted greenhouse gases are evenly distributed throughout the world's atmosphere. Recent hostility toward cap and trade in debates about U.S. climate legislation may reflect the broader political environment of the climate debate more than the substantive merits of market-based regulation.
    JEL: Q52 Q55 Q58
    Date: 2012–01
  11. By: Latika Chaudhary; Aldo Musacchio; Steven Nafziger; Se Yan
    Abstract: Our paper provides a comparative perspective on the development of public primary education in four of the largest developing economies circa 1910: Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). These four countries encompassed more than 50 percent of the world’s population in 1910, but remarkably few of their citizens attended any school by the early 20th century. We present new, comparable data on school inputs and outputs for BRIC drawn from contemporary surveys and government documents. Recent studies emphasize the importance of political decentralization, and relatively broad political voice for the early spread of public primary education in developed economies. We identify the former and the lack of the latter to be important in the context of BRIC, but we also outline how other factors such as factor endowments, colonialism, serfdom, and, especially, the characteristics of the political and economic elite help explain the low achievement levels of these four countries and the incredible amount of heterogeneity within each of them.
    JEL: I22 I28 N30 O15
    Date: 2012–02
  12. By: Luigi Guiso (EIEF and CEPR); Paolo Pinotti (Bocconi University and DONDENA)
    Abstract: We document a sharp reversal in electoral participation between the North and the South of Italy after the 1912 enfranchisement which extended voting rights from a limited élite to (almost) all adult males. When voting was restricted to the élite, electoral turnout was higher in the South but falls significantly below that in the North after the enfranchisement. Furthermore the new gap is never bridged over the following century and participation remains lower in the South despite the enrichment of democratic institutions and further extension of voting rights to the female population during the post war democratic republic. This pattern in the data is consistent with a simple model where individuals’ voting in political elections is affected by private benefits and by civic duty, only elites can grab private benefits from participation in politics and civic culture differs across communities. We also find that extension of voting rights to non-elites results in a significant transfer of power to their political organizations only among populations with a high sense of civic duties. Together with the very persistent gap in participation between North and South our findings suggest that democratization – a process of concession of democratic rights – can benefit non-elites only when the latter have already a high sense of civic capital and is unlikely to be a viable avenue for inducing norms of civic behavior.
    Date: 2012
  13. By: Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau (Universite de Sherbrooke); Gregor W. Smith (Queen's University)
    Abstract: Differences across countries or decades in the countercyclical stance of fiscal policy can help identify whether the growth in government spending affects output growth and so speeds recovery from a recession. We use the heterogeneity in the government-spending reaction functions across twenty countries in the interwar period to identify this effect. The main finding is that the growth of government spending did not have a significant effect on output growth, so that there is little evidence that this central aspect of fiscal policy played a stabilizing role from 1920 to 1939.
    Keywords: fiscal policy, business-cycle history, Great Depression, interwar economy
    JEL: E32 E65 N10
    Date: 2012–01
  14. By: Jha, Saumitra (Stanford University); Wilkinson, Steven (Yale University)
    Abstract: Can combat experience foster organizational skills that engender political collective action? We use the arbitrary assignment of troops to frontline combat in World War II to identify the effect of combat experience on two channels that change local ethnic composition and future political control: ethnic cleansing and co-ethnic immigration. During the Partition of South Asia in 1947, an environment where national borders were themselves endogenous to ethnic composition, we find that ethnically mixed districts whose veterans gained more combat experience exhibit greater co-ethnic immigration and ethnic cleansing. However, where ethnic groups had been in complementary economic roles or the minority received greater combat experience, there was relatively less minority ethnic cleansing. We interpret these results as reflecting the substitute roles of ethnic cleansing and co-ethnic immigration in altering local ethnic composition to gain political control and the role of combat experience in enhancing organizational skill that facilitates political collective action.
    Date: 2012–01
  15. By: Eric Schneider (History Faculty and Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK)
    Abstract: This paper challenges the growing consensus in the literature (Stone, 2005; Dodds, 2007) that medieval English peasants and manorial managers were price responsive in their production decisions. Using prices of and acreages planted with wheat, barley, and oats on 49 manors held by the bishop of Winchester from 1349-70, we estimate price elasticities of supply for each grain in aggregate and on each particular manor. Aggregate price elasticities of supply for wheat and oats were not significantly different than zero, and barley aggregate elasticities of supply were significant but very low. These elasticities are low compared with price elasticities of supply estimated for developing and developed countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Attempting to explain the variation in the estimated price elasticities for individual manors, market concentration had a significant, positive effect on price elasticities of wheat and oat supply. In the end, the low levels of price responsiveness in the post-Black Death period suggest that commercialisation was not as dominant in the medieval English economy as has been argued. Thus, the institutional and structural changes highlighted by Marxist and Neo-Malthusian historians may need to take a more prominent role in explanations of medieval economic change.
    Date: 2012–02–22
  16. By: Luca Fiorito
    Keywords: B15, B31 JEL Classification: The aim of this paper is to analyze John Bates Clark’s influence in the passing of the Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts (1914). Specifically, it is argued and documented that Clark was important in this process in two ways. First, he exercised an “indirect” influence by discussing in academic journals and books problems concerning trusts, combinations, and the necessary measures to preserve the working of competitive markets. At least as importantly, if not more so, Clark took an active role in the reform movement both contributing to draft proposals for the amendment of existing antitrust legislation and providing help and advice during the Congressional debates which led to the passing of the FTC and Clayton Acts.
    Date: 2012
  17. By: Maria-Dolores, Ramon; Martínez Carrion, José Miguel (Departamentos y Servicios::Departamentos de la UMU::Fundamentos del Análisis Económico)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between height and some measures of human welfare in Spain for the period 1850-1978. For that purpose, we employ several filtering methods to measure the correlation between variables such as first order differences, deterministic trends, the Hodrick and Prescott filter, the band-pass filter or den Haan (2000)’s methodology which uses a new set of statistics to characterize the co-movement between variables to capture the dynamic between variables. We always find a strong and positive correlation between height and GDP per cápita, height and the weight of health services in total consumption, and height and openness. By contrast, we have a negative correlation between height and the mortality rate and height and the ratio between the deflator of private consumption and the GDP deflator. By applying den Haan (2000)’s method, we find that the comovement between height and GDP per cápita is always positive, increasing in the medium and long-run. This correlation is higher after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). We also observe that height and mortality rate have a negative correlation in the medium-run. Other health indicators such as the weight of health services in total consumption and the ratio between the deflator of private consumption and the GDP deflator show a positive and negative co-movement in the short-run, respectively. Nevertheless, they change their sign of correlation in the long-run. Finally, we observe a positive co-movement between height and illiteracy rate in the short-run, a negative one in the long-run, and a strong and positive comovement between height and the grade of openness.
    Keywords: Height, physical stature, anthropometrics, education, economic development, VAR forecast errors
    JEL: D12 R23
    Date: 2012–02
  18. By: Kay Giesecke; Francis A. Longstaff; Stephen Schaefer; Ilya Strebulaev
    Abstract: Using an extensive new data set on corporate bond defaults in the U.S. from 1866 to 2010, we study the macroeconomic effects of bond market crises and contrast them with those resulting from banking crises. During the past 150 years, the U.S. has experienced many severe corporate default crises in which 20 to 50 percent of all corporate bonds defaulted. Although the total par amount of corporate bonds has often rivaled the amount of bank loans outstanding, we find that corporate default crises have far fewer real effects than do banking crises. These results provide empirical support for current theories that emphasize the unique role that banks and the credit and collateral channels play in amplifying macroeconomic shocks.
    JEL: E3 E32 E44 G01 G21 G33
    Date: 2012–02
  19. By: Kendzia, Michael J. (IZA); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (IZA and University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Ever since the very beginning of the Journal of Economics and Statistics, population economics has featured prominently in the Journal. Fertility naturally plays an important role in population economics. Its size has decreased significantly from the 1900s. Long time-series regarding fertility and basic trends in Germany are documented and analyzed. We identify three different explanatory approaches for the decline in fertility, according to which the various articles of the Journal related to this area are categorized. The paper also investigates previous fertility studies published by the Journal since the beginning. It points out that several articles anticipated subsequent research directions in the area of population economics at an early stage. In addition, significant contributions were made in terms of further developing existing knowledge. Thus, the Journal has helped to expand the research area of population economics.
    Keywords: fertility, total fertility rate, Malthus, self-regulation, Q-Q trade-off
    JEL: J10 J11 J13
    Date: 2012–02
  20. By: Blánaid Clarke (School of Law, University College Dublin); Niamh Hardiman (School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Ireland has had one of the most catastrophic experiences of financial crisis in the developed world, in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. Unlike the US or Britain though, Ireland’s enormous banking exposure was almost entirely related to property speculation and to the unchecked domestic housing bubble of the preceding ten years. This paper analyses the conditions that led to the crisis, taking account of patterns of corporate governance, regulatory institutions and practices, and the linkages between the banking sector and the political system.
    Date: 2012–02–17
  21. By: Jha, Saumitra (Stanford University)
    Abstract: The failure to align the incentives of self-interested groups in favor of beneficial reform is often considered a major cause of persistent underdevelopment around the world. However, much less is known about strategies that have been successful at overcoming such political economy challenges. One approach that holds much promise, and in fact appears to have had some historical success, is the provision of financial assets that align the interests of winners and potential losers from reform by providing claims on the future. This paper analyzes the role of financial instruments as a means for fostering broad political coalitions that favor beneficial reforms. It takes as a departure point the benchmark theory of portfolio choice, in which all agents hold the same (market) portfolio and thus all beneficial reforms are adopted. It then analyzes a range of historical cases in which innovative financial assets, often introduced by technocratic reformers, have succeeded at making politics less conflictual overtime, focusing on three revolutionary states that subsequently led the world in economic growth: England, the early United States and Meiji Japan. The paper draws upon the theory and the historical cases to assess the promise of finance in solving political economy challenges in contemporary settings.
    JEL: G00 N20 O10
    Date: 2011–10
  22. By: Yazdani, Naveed; Mamoon, Dawood
    Abstract: Some of the recent empirical studies relate economic growth and prosperity with religion. This paper raises the question that if economic systems are based on individualism and selfishness, can they be related with religion? The paper also finds that the Secularization hypothesis of Western Modernity is still valid for Western cultures, Judaism and Christianity but its application is highly unlikely in case of the third monotheist religion Islam. The paper expounds the causes of this proposition keeping in view the historical, religious and economic perspectives of Islam.
    Keywords: Economics; Education; Monotheist religions; Secularization hypothesis
    JEL: B0 A13
    Date: 2012–02
  23. By: Fenske, James
    Abstract: The conventional view is that an increase in the value of a natural resource will lead private property to emerge. Many Igbo groups in Nigeria, however, curtailed private rights over palm trees in response to the palm produce trade of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I present a simple game between a property owner and a potential thief in which an increase in the price of a natural resource makes it possible to introduce regulated communal tenure. This makes the property owner better off, leaving the thief as well off as under private property. I use this model along with colonial court records to explain the political economy of property disputes in interwar Igboland.
    Keywords: Property rights; trade; commons; Nigeria; Igbo
    JEL: N57 O10
    Date: 2012–02
  24. By: A. R. Nobay
    Abstract: Issues of European monetary union and international commercial policy share the centre stage of very current deliberations. This paper addresses the broader political economy perspective of monetary union rather than the specifics of this or that proposal, so as to abstract from the somewhat fluid nature of the discussions. I consider in turn, the background to the quest for monetary union, the conventional economic wisdom of such issues and finally, and more speculatively, the political economy aspects of European monetary arrangements in the world economy.
    Date: 2011–12
  25. By: Silvia Fedeli; Francesco Forte
    Abstract: Drawing on Alchian‟s and Schumpeter‟s theories about the market selection of entrepreneurs and on theories of the political class, we focus on the features characterizing the Italian post-war democratic Parliament, from 1946 to 2010. We analyse the survival of the members of the Italian Parliament, taking into account all available information concerning their individual characteristics and political affiliation. We apply the stratified Cox model, taking into consideration the order of re-election of the 15,357 repeated observations (representing 7,127 members of the Italian Parliament since 1946), who are followed as if they were “patients†in order to study their parliamentary survival.
    Keywords: Political enterprise, political class, survival analysis, Italian Parliament.
    JEL: D72 Z13
    Date: 2011–09

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