nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2012‒03‒21
twenty-one papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. The silence of the archive: post-colonialism and the practice of historical reconstruction from archival evidence By Decker, Stephanie
  2. Seizing the Opportunity: Towards a Historiography of Information Systems By Nathalie Mitev; François-Xavier De Vaujany
  4. Politics, Public Expenditure and the Evolution of Poverty in Africa 1920-2009 By Sue Bowden; Paul Mosley
  5. Economic integration and regional inequality in Iberia (1900-2000) : a geographical approach By Daniel Tirado; Marc Badia-Miró
  6. The wealth of the Cape Colony: Measurements from probate inventories By Johan Fourie
  7. Vilka var humanisterna? Underlag till Humanisterna och framtidssamhället: Tre studier och en workshop om humanioras framtid Kulturhuset, Stockholm, den 24 mars 2011 By Geschwind, Lars; Terrell, Miriam
  8. La población de los países latinoamericanos desde el siglo XIX hasta el 2008. Ensayo de historia cuantitativa By César Yáñez; Rodrigo Rivero; Marc Badia-Miró; Anna Carreras-Marín
  9. Clearing arrangements in the United States before the Federal Reserve System By Warren Weber
  10. Railroads and Micro-regional Growth in Prussia By Hornung, Erik
  11. Did Trade Openness Affect Income Distribution in Latin America? Evidence for the years 1980â..2010 By Szekely, Miguel
  12. Between Constraints and Coercion. Marriage and Social Reproduction in Northern and central Italy, 18th-19th Centuries. By Renzo Derosas; Marco Breschi; Alessio Fornasin; Matteo Manfredini; Cristina Munno
  13. Violence and displacement. Evidence from the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) By Laia Balcells
  14. Defaults and losses on commercial real estate bonds during the Great Depression era By Tyler Wiggers; Adam B. Ashcraft
  15. Compulsory Schooling Reforms, Education and Mortality in Twentieth Century Europe By Gathmann, Christina; Jürges, Hendrik; Reinhold, Steffen
  16. Revolutionizing transport: modern infrastructure, agriculture and development in Ghana. By Jedwab, Remi; Moradi, Alexander
  17. Bye Bye, G.I. - The Impact of the U.S. Military Drawdown on Local German Labor Markets By Jan Peter aus dem Moore; Alexandra Spitz-Oener
  18. On the Welfare Costs of Business-Cycle Fluctuations and Economic-Growth Variation in the 20th Century By Guillén, Osmani Teixeira de Carvalho; Issler, João Victor; Franco-Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello
  19. Series enlazadas de empleo y VAB para España, 1955-2010 (RegDat_Nac versión 3.0) By Angel de la Fuente
  20. A New Database on Education Stock in Taiwan By Godo, Yoshihisa
  21. Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Creation of Scientific Knowledge By Waldinger, Fabian

  1. By: Decker, Stephanie
    Abstract: History as a discipline has been accused of being a-theoretical. For business historians working at business schools, however, the issue of methodology looms larger, as it is hard to make contributions to social science debates without explicating one’s disciplinary methodology. This paper seeks to outline an important aspect of historical methodology, which is data collection from archives. In this area, postcolonialism has made significant methodological contributions not just for non-Western history, as it has emphasized the importance of considering how archives were created, and how one can legitimately use them despite their limitations.
    Keywords: Business History; Historiography; Historical Methodology; Qualitative Methodology; Organization Studies
    JEL: N8 N87 N01 B0 N80 B49
    Date: 2012–02–22
  2. By: Nathalie Mitev (ISIG - Information Systems and Innovation Group - Department of Management - London School of Economics and Political Science); François-Xavier De Vaujany (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: Historical perspectives are only timidly entering the world of IS research compared to historical research in management or organization studies. If major IS outlets have already published history-oriented papers, the number of historical papers - although increasing - remains low. We carried out a thematic analysis of all papers on History and IS published between 1972 and 2009 indexed on ABI and papers indexed in Google ScholarTM for the same period. We used a typology developed by theorists Usdiken and Kieser (2004) who classify historical organisation research into supplementarist, integrationist and reorientationist approaches. We outline their links with the epistemological stances well known in IS research, positivism, interpretivism and critical research; we then focus on their differences and historiographical characteristics. We found that most IS History papers are supplementarist descriptive case studies with limited uses of History. This paper then suggests that IS research could benefit from adopting integrationist and reorientationist historical perspectives and we offer some examples to illustrate how that would contribute to enriching, extending and challenging existing theories.
    Keywords: IS history; historiography; historical methods; historical organization theory
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Broadberry, Stephen (London School of Economics); Gupta, Bishnupriya (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper provides estimates of Indian GDP constructed from the output side for the pre-1871 period, and combines them with population estimates to track changes in living standards. Indian per capita GDP declined steadily during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before stabilising during the nineteenth century. As British living standards increased from the mid-seventeenth century, India fell increasingly behind. Whereas in 1600, Indian per capita GDP was over 60 per cent of the British level, by 1871 it had fallen to less than 15 per cent. As well as placing the origins of the Great Divergence firmly in the early modern period, the estimates suggest a relatively prosperous India at the height of the Mughal Empire, with living standards well above bare bones subsistence.
    Keywords: Indian GDP, comparison, Britain
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Sue Bowden; Paul Mosley (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: We investigate the historical roots of poverty, with particular reference to the experience of Africa during the twentieth century. Like the recent studies by Acemoglu et al (2001, etc) we find that institutional inheritance is an important influence on current underdevelopment; but in addition, we argue that the influence of policies on institutions is highly significant, and that in Africa at least, a high representation of European settlers in land ownership and policy-making was a source of weakness, and not of strength. We argue this thesis, using mortality rates as a proxy for poverty levels, with reference to two settler colonies – Zimbabwe and Kenya – and two peasant export colonies – Uganda and Ghana. Our findings suggest that in Africa, settler-type political systems tended to produce highly unequal income distributions and, as a consequence, patterns of public expenditure and investment in human and infrastructural capital which were strongly biased against smallholder agriculture and thence against poverty reduction, whereas peasant-export type political systems produced more equal income distributions whose policy structures and, consequently, production functions were less biased against the poor. As a consequence, liberalisation during the 1980s and 90s produced asymmetric results, with poverty falling sharply in the ‘peasant export’ and rising in settler economies. These contrasts in the evolution of poverty in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, we argue, can only be understood by reference to differences between the settler and peasant export economies whose roots lie in political decisions taken a hundred years previously.
    Keywords: Africa, economic history, settler economies, peasant export economies
    JEL: O10 N0
    Date: 2012–01
  5. By: Daniel Tirado; Marc Badia-Miró
    Abstract: This paper studies the evolution of regional inequality in Iberia from 1900 to 2000 from a geographical perspective. For doing that the text presents a new dataset of historical regional GDPs for Spanish NUTS III and Portuguese Historical Districts (HD), synthetic indices of regional inequality and different measures of spatial correlation across regional pc GDPs. The results show that Portuguese and Spanish national economic integration processes initially favored the economic specialization across Iberian regions fostering the divergence in terms of their regional pc GDPs. Notwithstanding, ulterior advances in the integration of national markets and the subsequent first stages in the process of adhesion of these two national economies into the UE coexisted with a progressive reduction in Iberian regional inequality. So, Iberian regional inequality depicts a long term U-shaped evolution. Nevertheless, at the same time, Iberian regional inequality evolution followed a significant geographical pattern. The poorest regions cluster in inland territories of the south and west, with regions belonging to this cluster sited on the two sides of the political border. On the contrary, richest regions cluster along the coasts, especially in the north-east corner of the Iberian Peninsula. Besides, the data show that this pattern was well established in the middle of the XX century, before the reciprocal openness of national markets in the 1980s. In this respect, the adhesion of both economies to the UE in 1986 seems to have just caused an ulterior deepening in this historical pattern
    Keywords: Regional inequality, Market integration, Border regions, New economic geography
    JEL: N93 N94 R11
    Date: 2012–02
  6. By: Johan Fourie
    Abstract: The stylized view of the Dutch Cape Colony (1652-1795) is of a poor, subsistence economy, with little progress in the first 143 years of Dutch rule. New evidence from probate inventory and auction roll records show that previous estimates about wealth at the Cape are inaccurate. In contrast to earlier historical accounts, the inventories reveal evidence of an affluent, market-integrated settler society, comparable to the most prosperous regions in eighteenth century England and Holland.
    Keywords: living standards, household wealth, inventories, South Africa, Dutch
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Geschwind, Lars (Institute for Futures Studies); Terrell, Miriam (Institute for Futures Studies)
    Abstract: In debates about the Humanities, historical references, more or less anecdotal, are requently used. The aim of this project is to present some facts about the Humanities’ academic environments and their main activities. To be more precise, we have scrutinised three Humanities disciplines and their development over time: 1900, 1950 and 2000. We have chosen Archeology, English and History with a special focus on Lund University and Uppsala University. Our main tasks have been to describe the existing staff resources at the time as well as the main activities undertaken. The empirical material used has been written sources in the form of catalogues, annual reports, protocols and phone books. The study shows that the three subjects were in a formation phase around 1900. There are single teachers in place in Archeology and English whereas History hosted a larger number of academic staff. By the turn of the millennium, there was a great diversity in terms of staff categories and the total number of staff has increased dramatically. For instance, the lone Archeology teacher in 1900 has become 75 by the year 2000 (Medieval Archeology included). However, the student numbers have increased even more. In 1900 there were in total 1,000-1,500 students at each university. That number was tripled in 1950 and the years after 2000 there was an enormous increase compared to the earlier years in this study. English alone had approximately 5,000 students, i.e. the double total number of students at the universities in Lund and Uppsala in 1900. The publication patterns have changed during the period, but perhaps not to the extent one might expect. As far as type of publication is concerned, historians are most inclined to write monographs. The other subjects publish more articles. Around 2000, English has increasingly become the publication language of Archeology and, perhaps less surprising, English. Historians still prefer Swedish. However, this issue goes beyond English or Swedish. It is striking how broad the language skills were around the year 1900, at least in terms of publications. Beside Swedish, many researchers published scientific texts in French, German and English. Outreach activities reported in annual reports etc. show a great breadth during the whole period, e.g. committees, censorship, writing popular science or taking part in politics and societal debate. However, within the frames of this study, we have not been able to analyse the societal role of the Humanities to any great extent.
    Keywords: Humanities’ academic environments; Archeology; English; History; staff resources; activities undertaken
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2011–03–24
  8. By: César Yáñez (Universidad de Barcelona); Rodrigo Rivero (Universidad de Barcelona); Marc Badia-Miró (Universidad de Barcelona); Anna Carreras-Marín (Universidad de Barcelona)
    Abstract: The analysis of population levels in Latin America plays an important role in the regional historiography. The estimated series appeared until now offers huge discrepancies, therefore, we believe essential to provide homogeneous series for the 19th and the 20th centuries. In our work we shed new light on this issue, from an exhaustive study of the existing Latin American historical sources for the region. To do that, we offer series of population for 21 countries of Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela) from own sources (Population Census), and other demographic complementary works. From all the wide range of existing databases (Mitchell, Maddison, MOXLAD and ECLAC), the authors have chosen to base its reconstruction of the data, on the series offered by ECLAC, which derive from the work of CELADE. Along with a detailed explanation of the data collection, we also provide an analysis of the discrepancies and the accuracy of sources. It concludes with an appendix with the data series.
    Keywords: Latin America, Caribbean, Demography, Ecnomic History
    JEL: N30 N30
    Date: 2012–03
  9. By: Warren Weber
    Abstract: This paper examines two different clearing arrangements for bank liabilities. One was a profit-maximizing private entity, the Suffolk Banking System. It cleared notes for New England banks between 1827 and 1858. The other was a nonprofit collective, the clearinghouses organized in many cities beginning in 1853. The paper examines how well these arrangements prevented bank failures and acted as lenders of last resort. It finds the Suffolk system had fewer failures but acted less like a lender of last resort. It argues that these differences can be explained by the different incentives facing the Suffolk Bank and the members of clearinghouses.
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Hornung, Erik (Ifo Institute)
    Abstract: We study the e ect of railroad access on urban population growth. Using GIS techniques, we match triennial population data for roughly 1000 cities in nineteenth-century Prussia to georeferenced maps of the German railroad network. We nd positive short- and long-term e ects of having a station on urban growth for di erent periods during 1840-1871. Causal e ects of (potentially endogenous) railroad access on city growth are identi ed using instrumentalvariable and xed-e ects estimation techniques. Our instrument identi es exogenous variation in railroad access by constructing straight-line corridors between terminal stations. Counterfactual models using pre-railroad growth yield no evidence in support of the hypothesis that railroads appeared as a consequence of a previous growth spurt.
    Keywords: Railroads, Technological Di usion, City Growth, Prussian Economic History
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Szekely, Miguel
    Abstract: This paper offers a medium-term perspective for analysing the trade opennessâ..inequality relationship in Latin America. We present three contributions. The first is that we assemble a database on income distribution indicators systematically estimated from household surveys with emphasis on within-country consistency of methodology, definitions, and coverage for the years 1980-2010. This 30-year database allows observing clearly that the increases in inequality throughout the 1980s and 1990s decades have been almost totally counteracted by the improvements during the first 10 years of the twenty-first century: 75 per cent of the deterioration in income distribution was reversed in the first decade of 2000. The second is an estimation of the association between trade openness and income distribution over the 30-year period. Our central conclusion in this regard is that greater trade openness is associated with contemporaneous increases in inequality in the region. The third is that trade openness contributedâ..â..together with other factorsâ..â the increase in inequality during the 1980s and 1990s, but once fully implemented, it did not lead to further rises in inequality, and did not represent a permanent obstacle to improvements in income distribution triggered by other factors such as greater education levels across the population.
    Keywords: inequality, education, trade
    Date: 2012
  12. By: Renzo Derosas (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Marco Breschi (University of Sassari); Alessio Fornasin (University of udine); Matteo Manfredini (University of Parma); Cristina Munno (University of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: In this paper we review the main theories of household and marriage systems, highlighting their inability to account for the astonishing variety of family and marriage patterns that characterized modern Italy. We propose a new interpretative framework, where social reproduction is given pride of place as the main factor shaping marital behavior and household formation in the past. We test our theory analyzing five populations in northern and central Italy, characterized by different ecological, economic, and social conditions. We use an event history analysis approach to model the timing of marriage in the populations under study. The results confirm that coercion mattered much more than Malthusian economic constraints. We conclude suggesting a more general application of our approach to the study of marital behavior, family formation, and residential patterns in the past.
    Keywords: marriage, social reproduction, household and marriage systems, Italy
    JEL: J12 N33 C14
    Date: 2012
  13. By: Laia Balcells
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between violence and displacement during civil war focusing on two different forms of population movements (i.e. incoming and outgoing), and two different forms of violence (i.e. direct and indirect). The paper explores the relationship between displacement and violence at the local level in the context of a civil war fought conventionally using fine-grained data from 1,062 municipalities of the region of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). First, the paper suggests that exogenous and endogenous to the war factors combine to generate patterns of resettlement. Second, the evidence indicates that, in a civil war context, refugee flows and violence are interrelated in multiple ways: the arrival of internal refugees in a locality promotes the perpetration of direct violence against civilians; this, in turn, triggers the departure of people from the locality when the other group approaches. Third, indirect violence (i.e. bombings) shows to be the most significant factor accounting for external displacement at the local level, suggesting that bombing can serve as a strong signal for civilians of the type of armed group they are facing. Finally, the Spanish case suggests that the demographic changes provoked by displacement, combined with the lethality of the conflict, are likely to have long-term political consequences.
    Date: 2012–01–31
  14. By: Tyler Wiggers; Adam B. Ashcraft
    Abstract: We employ a unique data set of public commercial real estate (CRE) bonds issued during the Great Depression era (1920-32) to determine their frequency of default and total loss given default. Default rates on these bonds far exceeded those originated in subsequent periods, driven in part by the greater economic stress of the Depression as well as the lower level of financial sophistication of investors and structures that prevailed in 1920-32. Our results confirm that making loans with higher loan-to-value ratios results in higher rates of default and loss. They also support the business cycle’s significance to the performance of CRE assets. Despite the large number of defaults in the early 1930s, the losses, which typically occurred after 1940, are comparable to those for contemporary loans, largely due to the rapid recovery of the economy from the Depression. This finding has relevance today, as numerous entities have a large amount of sub-performing CRE assets to work out. While the data point to better loss performance the quicker a problem loan is worked out, this may not hold true when there is a rapid recovery around the corner.
    Keywords: Bonds ; Depressions ; Default (Finance) ; Real estate investment
    Date: 2012
  15. By: Gathmann, Christina (University of Heidelberg); Jürges, Hendrik (University of Mannheim); Reinhold, Steffen (MEA, University of Mannheim)
    Abstract: Education yields substantial non-monetary benefits, but the size of these gains is still debated. Previous studies, for example, report contradictory effects of education and compulsory schooling on mortality – ranging from zero to large mortality reductions. Using data from 19 compulsory schooling reforms implemented in Europe during the twentieth century, we quantify the mean mortality effect and explore its dispersion across gender, time and countries. We find that men benefit from compulsory education both in the shorter and longer run. In contrast, compulsory schooling reforms have little or no effect on mortality for women.
    Keywords: compulsory schooling, education, mortality, Europe
    JEL: I12 I21 I28
    Date: 2012–03
  16. By: Jedwab, Remi; Moradi, Alexander
    Abstract: We study the impact of colonial investments in modern transportation in- frastructure on agriculture and development in Ghana. Two railway lines were built between 1901 and 1923 to connect the coast to mining areas and the large hinterland city of Kumasi. This unintendedly opened vast expanses of tropical forest to cocoa cultivation, allowing Ghana to become the world's largest producer. Using data at a very fine spatial level, we find a strong effect of railroad connectivity on cocoa production in 1927, generating rents in the order of 4.5% of GDP. We show that the economic boom in cocoa-producing areas was associated with demographic growth and urbanization. We find no effect for lines that were not built yet, and lines that were planned but never built. Lastly, railway construction had a persistent impact: railway districts are more developed today despite a complete displacement of rail by other means of transport
    Date: 2012–03
  17. By: Jan Peter aus dem Moore; Alexandra Spitz-Oener
    Abstract: What is the impact of a local negative demand shock on local labor markets? We exploit the unique natural experiment provided by the drawdown of U.S. military forces in West Germany after the end of the Cold War to investigate this question. We find persistent negative effects of the reduction in the U.S. forces on private sector employment, with con- siderable heterogeneity in terms of age and education groups, and sectors. In addition, the U.S. forces reduction resulted in a rise in local unemployment, whereas migration patterns and wages were not affected.
    Keywords: Labor demand shock, Base closure, Employment, Wages
    JEL: J23 R23
    Date: 2012–03
  18. By: Guillén, Osmani Teixeira de Carvalho; Issler, João Victor; Franco-Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello
    Abstract: Lucas (1987) has shown a surprising result in business-cycle research: the welfare cost ofbusiness cycles are very small. Our paper has several original contributions. First, in computingwelfare costs, we propose a novel setup that separates the effects of uncertainty stemming frombusiness-cycle fluctuations and economic-growth variation. Second, we extend the sample from which to compute the moments of consumption: the whole of the literature chose primarily to work with post-WWII data. For this period, actual consumption is already a result of counter-cyclical policies, and is potentially smoother than what it otherwise have been in their absence. So, we employ also pre-WWII data. Third, we take an econometric approach and compute explicitly the asymptotic standard deviation of welfare costs using the Delta Method. Estimates of welfare costs show major differences for the pre-WWII and the post-WWII era. They can reach up to 15 times for reasonable parameter values -β=0.985, and ∅=5. For example, in the pre-WWII period (1901-1941), welfare cost estimates are 0.31% of consumption if we consider only permanent shocks and 0.61% of consumption if we consider only transitory shocks. In comparison, the post-WWII era is much quieter: welfare costs of economic growth are 0.11% and welfare costs of business cycles are 0.037% - the latter being very close to the estimate in Lucas (0.040%). Estimates of marginal welfare costs are roughly twice the size of the total welfare costs. For the pre-WWII era, marginal welfare costs of economic-growth and business- cycle fluctuations are respectively 0.63% and 1.17% of per-capita consumption. The same figures for the post-WWII era are, respectively, 0.21% and 0.07% of per-capita consumption.
    Date: 2012–02–28
  19. By: Angel de la Fuente
    Abstract: En este trabajo se elaboran series de distintos agregados de empleo y de VAB a precios corrientes y constantes para el conjunto de España durante el período 1955-2010. Las series se construyen mediante el enlace de diversas bases de la CNE y de la Contabilidad Trimestral, introduciéndose también una corrección tentativa para reconciliar las series de empleo de la CNE con las de la EPA.
    Date: 2012–01–24
  20. By: Godo, Yoshihisa
    Abstract: This paper provides long-term detailed estimates for Taiwan’s education stock. The average number of years of schooling per person by gender, age group, and level and type of education are estimated for 1888-1940 and 1947-2000. This is the first extension of Godo’s (2011) dataset, which contains nearly 100-year annual estimates on education stock for Japan, Korea, and the US. The definition and methodology in this paper follow those of Godo (2011).
    Date: 2012–02
  21. By: Waldinger, Fabian (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the e¤ects of human capital (HC) and physical capital (PC) for the productivity of science departments. To address the endogeneity of input choices I use two extensive but temporary shocks to the HC and PC of science departments. As HC shock I use the dismissal of mostly Jewish scientists in Nazi Germany. As PC shock I use the destruction of facilities by Allied bombings during WWII. In the short run, a 10 percent to HC lowered departmental productivity by about 0.21sd. A 10 percent shock to PC lowered departmental productivity by about 0.05sd in the short run. While the HC shock persisted until the end of my sample period (1980), departments experiencing a PC shock recovered very quickly (by 1961). Additional results show that the dismissal ‘star scientists’was particularly detrimental, and that a fall in the quality of hires was an important mechanism for the persistence of the HC shock.
    Date: 2012

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