New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2012‒04‒17
fourteen papers chosen by

  1. Central banks under German rule during World War II: The case of Norway By Harald Espeli
  2. What price a roof? Housing and the cost of living in 16th-century Toledo By Drelichman, Mauricio; Gonzalez Agudo, David
  3. On error: undisciplined thoughts on one of the causes of intellectual path dependency By Yalcintas, Altug
  4. Matthew Boultonfs Sales in Christiefs -A Review of Research Trends - By Yoshihiko Okabe
  5. Why do banking crises occur? The American subprime crisis compared with the Norwegian banking crisis 1987-92 By Sverre Knutsen
  6. Agricultural Output, Calories and Living Standards in England before and during The Industrial Revolution By Morgan Kelly; Cormac Ó Gráda
  7. Mechanisms of Financial Crises in Growth and Collapse: Hammurabi, Schumpeter, Perez, and Minsky. By Erik S. Reinert
  8. Filantropía no asistencialista: La reseña de Demetrio Aranovich sobre Colonia Mauricio By Edgardo Zablotsky
  9. ¿Quién manda aquí? Poder regional y participación de la costa Caribe en los gabinetes ministeriales, 1900-2000 By Adolfo Meisel Roca
  10. Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution By Davide Cantoni; Noam Yuchtman
  11. The late-medieval economic decline of ‘old’ monasteries and abbeys in Western Europe: inevitable or avoidable? By Daniel R. Curtis
  12. The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Literature Review By Bronwyn H. Hall; Christian Helmers; Mark Rogers; Vania Sena
  13. Workers’ motivation: the italian case of cooperative credit banks By Troisi, Roberta; Nese , Annamaria
  14. Les organisations patronales. By Thomas Amossé; Gaëtan Flocco; Josette Lefèvre; Jean-Marie Pernot; Héloïse Petit; Frédéric Rey; Michèle Tallard; Carole Tuchszirer; Catherine Vincent

  1. By: Harald Espeli (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))
    Abstract: Until the German invasion of Norway 9 April 1940 the Norwegian central bank had been one of the most independent in Western Europe. This article investigates the agency of the Norwegian central bank during the German occupation and compares it with central banks in other German occupied countries. The Norwegian central bank seems to have been more accommodating to German wishes and demands than the central banks in other German occupied countries in Western Europe.
    Keywords: Central banks, World War II, German occupation, Norway
    JEL: H56 N44 N94
    Date: 2012–03–20
  2. By: Drelichman, Mauricio; Gonzalez Agudo, David
    Abstract: Data on housing costs and rental markets for the early modern period are notoriously scarce. We build a database of rent paid on 183 properties belonging to the Cathedral Chapter of Toledo between 1489 and 1600. Using detailed information on location, physical characteristics of the property, and the identity of the renter, we reconstruct housing costs for various social groups and trace the effect of exogenous shocks on the rental market. We then use our data to explore the impact of adding rent to early modern price indices and estimates of living standards. Price indices show a moderate effect. When comparing the living standards of Toledo to two northern European locations, the addition of rent reduces the gap between them by up to 9.5%.
    Keywords: housing, rent indices, living standards, early modern period, Spain
    Date: 2012–04–09
  3. By: Yalcintas, Altug
    Abstract: Is there not any place in the history of ideas for the imperfect character of human doings (i.e. capability of error) that is repeated for so long until we lately start to think that it had long been wrong? The answer is: In the conventional histories of ideas there is almost none. The importance of the phenomenon,however, is immense. Intellectual history is full of errors. Scholarly errors are among the factors that generate intellectual pathways in which consequences of historical small events feed back up on each other positively and give rise to historical pathologies in the end. Pathways hold the intellectuals dependent on the consequences of errors which interact upon each other and prevent resulting pathologies to disappear fully. As a result, ideas do not converge to a level of perfection. Evolutionary account of errors suggests that errors in the history of ideas matter even though they are often corrected.
    Keywords: Errors in the history of ideas; intellectual path dependence; intellectual pathologies; the Coase Theorem; historical small events
    JEL: B52 B25 B41
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Yoshihiko Okabe (Faculty of Economics, Kobe Gakuin University)
    Abstract: Research about Matthew Boulton in recent years indicates that the background for his business product development was based not only on management plans for his steam engine, but also on cultural factors and new global businesses, e.g. coinage. The Bank of England launches a new ’50 note in 2011, featuring Matthew Boulton. It seems that the role of Matthew Boulton in the Industrial Revolution has come to be evaluated highly by the UK public. Boultonfs ormolu business has still been underestimated in economic and business history. However, if we look at the expansion of manufacturing ormolu, which was the core business, as was the gtoyh trade in his early career, it has been found that Boulton intended to expand the market by new lines of consumer goods and the adoption of neo-classical design. Products were diversified by the development of Blue John ware in combination with ormolu. Boulton also attempted new style sales e.g. exhibitions, where he invited the upper classes, including the royal family. Some of these attempts were not successful. From the gwindow dressingh of sales and fictitious names of bidders on sales in 1771, we know that the financial result was a failure, and also that Boulton had a hard time to find ways to deal with the result of the sales. The adoption of neo-classical design for his products could not be said to have increased sales. However, analysis of the sales in 1771 shows Boulton tried to sell not only adornment, but also many practical products with associated decoration. This method of combining decoration and practical use was visible in many Boulton products after the sales in 1771. Boultonfs business did not simply shift from decorative products to the steam engine, but also to adornments to products which had both a decorative and a practical function. The technique, accumulated in the development and manufacturing of the adornments, was combined with a practical function such as the movement of the hall clock. This had a great influence on later business, e.g. the steam engine. In other words, the experience of sales in 1771 was not a purely negative experience, but a hint of business to come in the later career of Matthew Boulton.
    Keywords: Matthew Boulton, Industrial Revolution, Economic History, Business History
    JEL: N33 N63 N73
    Date: 2012–04
  5. By: Sverre Knutsen (Norwegian Business School and Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))
    Abstract: This paper analyses the causes of banking crises by the way of a historical comparative case study. Moreover, the analysis draws on theories elaborated by the economist Hyman Minsky. The evidence presented suggests that the fundamental causes of the compared crises are found in the macroeconomic boom-bust fluctuation and the building up of asset market bubble(s) preceding the breakdown and the crisis. We also find boom-bust cycles as depicted in a basic Minsky-cycle, where financial instability and the outbreak of crisis is a consequence of an unbalanced mix of hedge, speculative and Ponzi financial positions. In both cases we have observed a pattern where stabilizing or thwarting institutions, as Minsky denoted them, were eroded over time. Each case demonstrates that structural economic shifts were interacting with major institutional changes and created processes that effectively removed institutional stabilizers. Hence, systemic risk was allowed to fill up the financial system. These processes were essential for building up financial imbalances of such a magnitude that the particular booms ended in systemic banking crises.
    Keywords: Financial Crises, business cycles, Institutional Stabilizers, Structural Economic
    JEL: E32 E51 G01 G18 N10 N12 N14
    Date: 2012–03–20
  6. By: Morgan Kelly (University College Dublin); Cormac Ó Gráda (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper surveys the results of four recent, separate attempts at estimating agricultural output and food availability in England and Wales at points between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. It highlights their contrasting implications for trends in economic growth and nutritional status over time. It also offers some suggestions aimed at narrowing gaps between the evidence and how it has been interpreted.
    Keywords: agriculture, nutrition, economic growth
    Date: 2012–04–11
  7. By: Erik S. Reinert
    Abstract: This paper provides a historical and theoretical overview of the mechanisms leading up to financial crises and financial bubbles. It suggests that the potentially explosive growth of the financial sector at the expense of the real economy fed by compound interest has . since before Ancient Mesopotamia under the rule of Hammurabi . represented a real threat for such crises. A more modern and additional factor that builds up crises is Joseph Schumpeterÿs observation of the clustering of innovations. Carlota Perez has more recently developed Schumpeterÿs vision into a theory of techno-economic paradigms which . about midway in their trajectory . produce the build-up to financial crises. The theories of Schumpeterian economist Hyman Minsky, describing the mechanisms producing the collapse of financial bubbles complete the overview. The paper ends with recommendations to bring the West out of the present crisis by .once again . putting the real economy rather than the financial economy in the driverÿs seat of capitalism.
    Date: 2012–04
  8. By: Edgardo Zablotsky
    Abstract: Colonia Mauricio se estableció en 1891 sobre las primeras tierras adquiridas por la Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.) en nuestro país y, por lejos, las más fértiles. La Memoria Oficial de la J.C.A. de 1904 llegó a calificarla como la más próspera de las colonias. Sin embargo, Colonia Mauricio se desintegró rápidamente. ¿Qué sucedió? Comprender las razones por las cuales se disolvió la colonia nos ayudará a evaluar el aparentemente más claro fracaso del proyecto inmigratorio del Barón de Hirsch y postular la hipótesis alternativa que dicho supuesto fracaso no lo fue tal, sino todo lo contrario. Con dicho fin reconstruiremos la historia de la colonia a partir de fuentes primarias: memorias y testimonios de colonos y de funcionarios de la J.C.A. Dedicaremos este paper a analizar la Reseña Histórica de la colonia llevada a cabo por Demetrio Aranovich. Las características personales de Aranovich, primer médico judío graduado en la Universidad de Buenos Aires en 1903 y miembro del Partido Socialista; el hecho que fue contratado por la J.C.A. para atender las necesidades sanitarias de la colonia en 1904, ejerció su profesión en Carlos Casares entre 1905 y 1916 y fue un destacado dirigente de la comunidad judía local; la metodología de su trabajo, un minucioso reporte estadístico que nos ayuda a comprender la vida económica de la colonia; la contemporaneidad de su estudio a los hechos, al ser publicado en 1931 y el incluir en el mismo el período de desintegración de la colonia, convierten el análisis de su reseña en el paso natural a los fines de continuar nuestra reconstrucción de Colonia Mauricio. Mediante el mismo descubriremos, al igual que al estudiar las Memorias de Boris Garfunkel, características propias de un proyecto filantrópico embuido en una lógica no asistencialista, realizaremos un chequeo cruzado de muchas de las apreciaciones vertidas por Garfunkel, identificaremos el principal motivo, en la visión del autor, de la desintegración de la colonia y conoceremos su juicio de valor sobre dicho evento en términos del ideal del proyecto inmigratorio del Barón de Hirsch.
    Keywords: Maurice de Hirsch, filantropía, asistencialismo, Colonia Mauricio, Demetrio Aranovich
    JEL: D64
    Date: 2012–03
  9. By: Adolfo Meisel Roca
    Abstract: En este trabajo hemos analizado la composición regional de los diferentes gabinetes ministeriales que tuvo Colombia durante el siglo XX con el fin de conocer la influencia regional tanto en la cantidad de ministros como en el tipo de ministerios. Es bien conocido que en Colombia las identidades regionales son muy marcadas y que ellas influyen en la vida política del país. En la composición de los gabinetes una de las dimensiones que los presidentes tienen en cuenta es el origen regional. Para analizar la participación regional en los ministerios se construyó una base de datos con los nombres de las 702 personas que en algún momento fueron ministros durante el siglo XX. El trabajo se enfoca sobre la región Caribe, por cuanto queríamos estudiar su participación en la vida política nacional, durante un siglo en que su economía se rezagó en relación a la del centro del país. Sin embargo, como se requería una perspectiva regional comparativa, también hemos discutido ampliamente el caso antioqueño y bogotano y, en menor extensión, el de otras zonas del país. Los resultados muestran la fuerte influencia de Antioquia y los departamentos del eje cafetero en los gabinetes de la primera del siglo XX, así como el ascenso bogotano en las últimas décadas del siglo.
    Date: 2012–04–10
  10. By: Davide Cantoni; Noam Yuchtman
    Abstract: We present new data documenting medieval Europe's "Commercial Revolution'' using information on the establishment of markets in Germany. We use these data to test whether medieval universities played a causal role in expanding economic activity, examining the foundation of Germany's first universities after 1386 following the Papal Schism. We find that the trend rate of market establishment breaks upward in 1386 and that this break is greatest where the distance to a university shrank most. There is no differential pre-1386 trend associated with the reduction in distance to a university, and there is no break in trend in 1386 where university proximity did not change. These results are not affected by excluding cities close to universities or cities belonging to territories that included universities. Universities provided training in newly-rediscovered Roman and Canon law; students with legal training served in positions that reduced the uncertainty of trade in medieval Europe. We argue that training in the law, and the consequent development of legal and administrative institutions, was an important channel linking universities and greater economic activity.
    JEL: I25 N13 N33 O10
    Date: 2012–04
  11. By: Daniel R. Curtis (Utrecht University)
    Abstract: The old Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of Western Europe faced new testing economic conditions by the late Middle Ages. Gifts and donations to the institutions had dried up, the manorial system and serfdom were on the wane, and furthermore, these old monasteries faced competition from new private and charitable foundations such as hospitals and mendicant houses. Many monasteries fell into economic decline as a result, suffering from a crisis in liquidity and from expropriation of their lands. Was this decline inevitable or avoidable, however? By focusing on some cases of institutional adaptation in the Low Countries and Italy, it is shown that these older monasteries could adapt and reinvent themselves to stave off crisis. However, as is later revealed, not all monasteries encountered the same favourable power and property constellations necessary to achieve the required levels of institutional flexibility
    Keywords: Monasteries, Decline, Italy, Low Countries, Crisis
    Date: 2012–04
  12. By: Bronwyn H. Hall; Christian Helmers; Mark Rogers; Vania Sena
    Abstract: We survey the economic literature, both theoretical and empirical, on the choice of intellectual property protection by firms. Our focus is on the tradeoffs between using patents and disclosing versus the use of secrecy, although we also look briefly at the use of other means of formal intellectual property protection.
    JEL: K11 L29 O34
    Date: 2012–04
  13. By: Troisi, Roberta; Nese , Annamaria
    Abstract: The role of the cooperative credit banks in the European financial system is growing, particularly during the current period of financial crisis. Nevertheless, these cooperative banks have not received a great deal of attention from scholars. This lack of attention has resulted from two factors: i) the lack of empirical data and ii) the fact that the organizational structures and multiple goals of these cooperative banks are “generally more difficult to understand than the corporate governance of the commercial banks with their more easily interpretable and single goal of profit maximizing”(Groeneveld, 2011). This paper contributes to the understanding of Italian cooperative credit banks (Bccs) and their activity by describing their main characteristics and by providing a comparison with different cooperative bank models. Second, it analyzes the job satisfaction of Italian Bccs’ employees, which is a crucial factor because human resources, along with the Bccs’ unique structural elements, facilitate long-term relationships with the local communities where Bccs are located.
    Keywords: Non profit organizations; Workers' motivation; Firm Objectives;
    JEL: D21 L31 J54
    Date: 2012–01
  14. By: Thomas Amossé (CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé); Gaëtan Flocco (Centre Pierre Naville - Université d'Evry-Val d'Essonne); Josette Lefèvre (CURAPP-ESS - Centre universitaire de recherches sur l'action publique et le politique. Epistémologie et Sciences sociales - CNRS : UMR6054 - Université de Picardie Jules Verne); Jean-Marie Pernot (IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - Conseil d'analyse stratégique); Héloïse Petit (CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne); Frédéric Rey (LISE - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire pour la Sociologie Economique - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) - CNRS : UMR3320); Michèle Tallard (IRISSO - Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine); Carole Tuchszirer (CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé); Catherine Vincent (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales - IRES)
    Abstract: Dans une large mesure, le patronat constitue un point aveugle de l'analyse des acteurs de la relation sociale. C'est dans l'optique de mieux l'appréhender que la recherche s'est construite, qui vise à éclairer la pluralité de l'espace patronal à travers sa relation aux autres acteurs des relations sociales (pouvoirs publics, syndicats de salariés, collectivités territoriales). Au-delà de cette confrontation à l'autre, l'objectif poursuivi a été de mieux saisir quels étaient les vecteurs qui structurent l'engagement patronal et comment se " fabriquaient " les mandats patronaux, que ce soit dans le cadre d'une classique négociation interprofessionnelle, dans celui plus informel du dialogue social territorial ou encore dans l'univers dense et méconnu des think tanks. Le rapport est organisé en trois parties. La première présente une tentative d'objectivation de la participation patronale. La question du nombre d'adhérents a été délibérément délaissée pour privilégier une forme plus labile d'engagement qui est la participation - avec ses gradations - aux diverses formes d'activité de représentation (structures locales, syndicats professionnels, clubs de DRH, instances paritaires). Ce choix a été dicté par les outils de connaissance statistique mobilisables, qui ne permettent pas de circonscrire en tant que tels les périmètres de l'adhésion. L'enquête REPONSE, qui a été la base du travail statistique, a été confrontée à une investigation de terrain où les questions posées ont permis d'apporter un regard plus situé dans l'espace et dans le jeu d'acteurs. La deuxième partie explore la question du mode de production du mandat patronal en situation d'interaction. Il s'agissait là d'une attention portée au niveau national interprofessionnel dans deux grands champs de la négociation collective : la protection sociale et la formation, deux domaines clés du paritarisme. La formation professionnelle donne à voir un autre espace de la régulation du système, celui de la région qui révèle la fragmentation des figures patronales pourtant toutes conviées à participer au dialogue social territorial. La troisième partie renvoie à deux terrains occupant des positions polaires par rapport à l'espace de représentation : l'un au cœur puisqu'il s'agit du langage qui aide à structurer une unité patronale souvent en quête de cohésion ; l'autre à la périphérie, l'idée étant de dresser un portrait panoptique des Think Tanks patronaux, une qualification en partie récusée par les acteurs de ces clubs de réflexion dont la relation aux confédérations patronales n'apparait pas toujours centrale dans leur positionnement stratégique.
    Keywords: organisations patronales; relations professionnelles
    Date: 2012–02

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