nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2012‒05‒08
23 papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Debt Overhangs: Past and Present By Carmen M. Reinhart; Vincent R. Reinhart; Kenneth S. Rogoff
  2. The Return of Financial Repression By Reinhart, Carmen
  3. The Future of South African Economic History By Johan Fourie; Stefan Schirmer
  4. "Introduction to an Alternative History of Money" By L. Randall Wray
  5. Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: The Market for Lemons By Dimico, Arcangelo; Isopi, Alessia; Olsson, Ola
  6. THE EFFECT OF MAFIA ON PUBLIC TRANSFERS By Guglielmo Barone; Gaia Narciso
  7. The Great Depression in Spain By Eduardo L. Giménez; María Montero
  8. GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The national accounts of a slave-based society By Johan Fourie; Jan Luiten van Zanden
  9. Reconstruction of the Regional GDP of Portugal, 1890 1980 By Marc Badia- Miro; Jordi Guilera; Pedro Lains
  10. By a Silken Thread: Regional banking integration and pathways to financial development in Japan's Great Recession By Mathias HOFFMANN; OKUBO Toshihiro
  11. Wage and Employment Determination in Volatile Times: Sweden 1913-1939 By Holmlund, Bertil
  12. Moral Hazard and the Mounting of a Crisis: A U.S. Narrative By Robert E. Prasch; Thierry Warin
  13. The impact of Alfred Marshall's ideas. The global diffusion of his work By Alain Béraud
  14. Banks, Free Banks, and U.S. Economic Growth By Matthew Jaremski; Peter L. Rousseau
  15. The Anatomy of a Credit Crisis: The Boom and Bust in Farm Land Prices in the United States in the 1920s. By Raghuram Rajan; Rodney Ramcharan
  16. The Birth and the Rise of the Cluster Concept By Luciana Lazzeretti; Silvia Rita Sedita; Annalisa Caloffi
  17. Institutions, Economics and the Development Quest By Duarte N. Leite; Sandra T. Silva; Óscar Afonso
  18. The Experimental Economics of Religion By Robert Hoffmann
  19. The Probability of Military Rule in Africa, 1970-2007 By Jacopo Costa; Raul Caruso; Roberto Ricciuti
  20. The returns to private education: evidence from Mexico By Chiara Binelli; Marta Rubio Codina
  21. Land Use Rights, Market Transitions, and Labor Policy Change in China (1980-4) By Chen, Yiu Por (Vincent)
  22. Adam Smith on Monopoly Theory. Making good a lacuna By Salvadori, Neri; Signorino, Rodolfo
  23. La Performance des Fusions-Acquisitions : une Revue de la Littérature By Ludivine Chalençon

  1. By: Carmen M. Reinhart; Vincent R. Reinhart; Kenneth S. Rogoff
    Abstract: We identify the major public debt overhang episodes in the advanced economies since the early 1800s, characterized by public debt to GDP levels exceeding 90% for at least five years. Consistent with Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) and other more recent research, we find that public debt overhang episodes are associated with growth over one percent lower than during other periods. Perhaps the most striking new finding here is the duration of the average debt overhang episode. Among the 26 episodes we identify, 20 lasted more than a decade. Five of the six shorter episodes were immediately after World Wars I and II. Across all 26 cases, the average duration in years is about 23 years. The long duration belies the view that the correlation is caused mainly by debt buildups during business cycle recessions. The long duration also implies that cumulative shortfall in output from debt overhang is potentially massive. We find that growth effects are significant even in the many episodes where debtor countries were able to secure continual access to capital markets at relatively low real interest rates. That is, growth-reducing effects of high public debt are apparently not transmitted exclusively through high real interest rates.
    JEL: E44 E62 E63 F30 F41 H6 H63 N1
    Date: 2012–04
  2. By: Reinhart, Carmen
    Abstract: Periods of high indebtedness have historically been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. Sometimes the debt restructuring is more subtle and takes the form of 'financial repression'. Consistent negative real interest rates are equivalent to a tax on bond holders and, more generally, savers. In the heavily regulated financial markets of the Bretton Woods system, a variety of financial domestic and international restrictions facilitated a sharp and rapid reduction or 'liquidation' of public debt from the late 1940s to the 1970s. The restrictions or regulatory measures of that era had their origins in what would now come under the heading of 'macroprudential' concerns in the wake of the severe banking crises that swept many countries in the early 1930s. The surge in public debts that followed during the Great Depression and through World War II only made the case for stable and low interest rates and directed credit more compelling to policymakers. The resurgence of financial repression in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crises alongside the surge in public debts in advanced economies is documented here. This process of financial 'de-globalization' may have only just begun.
    Keywords: capital controls; debt; financial repression; inflation; interest rates; regulation
    JEL: E2 E3 E6 F3 F4 H6 N10
    Date: 2012–04
  3. By: Johan Fourie (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Stefan Schirmer (School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand)
    Abstract: This note reviews the state and future of South African economic history. We argue that although new techniques, archival sources, international interest and a greater propensity to collaborate within and across disciplines have stimulated new research over the last decade, overcoming our divided methodological and ideological past remains first priority if South African economic history is to make a contribution to future development theory and policy, in South Africa and across the developing world.
    Keywords: South Africa, economic history, historians, Apartheid, colonial history
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2012
  4. By: L. Randall Wray
    Abstract: This paper integrates the various strands of an alternative, heterodox view on the origins of money and the development of the modern financial system in a manner that is consistent with the findings of historians and anthropologists. As is well known, the orthodox story of money's origins and evolution begins with the creation of a medium of exchange to reduce the costs of barter. To be sure, the history of money is "lost in the mists of time," as money's invention probably predates writing. Further, the history of money is contentious. And, finally, even orthodox economists would reject the Robinson Crusoe story and the evolution from a commodity money through to modern fiat money as historically accurate. Rather, the story told about the origins and evolution of money is designed to shed light on the "nature" of money. The orthodox story draws attention to money as a transactions-cost-minimizing medium of exchange. Heterodox economists reject the formalist methodology adopted by orthodox economists in favor of a substantivist methodology. In the formalist methodology, the economist begins with the "rational" economic agent facing scarce resources and unlimited wants. Since the formalist methodology abstracts from historical and institutional detail, it must be applicable to all human societies. Heterodoxy argues that economics has to do with a study of the institutionalized interactions among humans and between humans and nature. The economy is a component of culture; or, more specifically, of the material life process of society. As such, substantivist economics cannot abstract from the institutions that help to shape economic processes; and the substantivist problem is not the formal one of choice, but a problem concerning production and distribution. A powerful critique of the orthodox story regarding money can be developed using the findings of comparative anthropology, comparative history, and comparative economics. Given the embedded nature of economic phenomenon in prior societies, an understanding of what money is and what it does in capitalist societies is essential to this approach. This can then be contrasted with the functioning of precapitalist societies in order to allow identification of which types of precapitalist societies would use money and what money would be used for in these societies. This understanding is essential for informed speculation on the origins of money. The comparative approach used by heterodox economists begins with an understanding of the role money plays in capitalist economies, which shares essential features with analyses developed by a wide range of Institutionalist, Keynesian, Post Keynesian, and Marxist macroeconomists. This paper uses the understanding developed by comparative anthropology and comparative history of precapitalist societies in order to logically reconstruct the origins of money.
    Keywords: Origins of Money; Evolution of Financial System; Substantivist Methodology; Comparative History; Nature of Money
    JEL: B5 B25 B41 E11 E12 N01 N2 P1
    Date: 2012–05
  5. By: Dimico, Arcangelo (Queen's University); Isopi, Alessia (University of Manchester); Olsson, Ola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Since its first appearance in the late 1800s, the origins of the Sicilian mafia have remained a largely unresolved mystery. Both institutional and historical explanations have been proposed in the literature through the years. In this paper, we develop an argument for a market structure -hypothesis, contending that mafia arose in towns where firms made unusually high pro…ts due to imperfect competition. We identify the produc- tion of citrus fruits as a sector with very high international demand as well as substantial fixed costs that acted as a barrier to entry in many places and secured high profits in others. We argue that the mafia arose out of the need to protect citrus production from predation by thieves. Using the original data from a parliamentary inquiry in 1881-86 on Sicilian towns, we show that mafia presence is strongly related to the production of orange and lemon. This result contrasts recent work that emphasizes the importance of land reforms and a broadening of property rights as the main reason for the emergence of mafia protection.
    Keywords: mafia; Sicily; protection; barrier to entry; dominant position
    JEL: P48
    Date: 2012–05–02
  6. By: Guglielmo Barone (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department, Branch of Bologna, Piazza Cavour 6, 40124, Bologna, Italy); Gaia Narciso (Trinity College Dublin, CReAM and IIIS, Department of Economics, 3012 Arts Building, Dublin 2, Ireland)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of organized crime on the allocation of public transfers. We assemble an innovative data set on Italian mafia and public funds to businesses at municipality level and instrument current mafia activity with rainfall in the XIX century and geographical shifters of land productivity. We show that organized crime greatly increases the amount of public funds to businesses. Mafia is also found to lead to episodes of corruption in the public administration sector. Our results suggest that the design of geographically targeted aid policies should take into account local crime conditions.
    Keywords: organized crime, public transfers, corruption
    JEL: H4 K4 O17
    Date: 2012–04
  7. By: Eduardo L. Giménez; María Montero (Universidade de Vigo)
    Abstract: In the decade of the 1930s the Spanish economy reported an slowdown of 20%, less severe than what occurred in the US, France and Germany, but very similar to the Italian and British experiences. In this paper we study two issues concerning this period of the Spanish economy: Did the World Depression account for the slump in the Spanish economy? And, why did the Spanish economy –unlike others– still show no signs of recovery at the onset of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)? We find that TFP accounts for most of the slowdown throughout this period, and the terms of trade explain the evolution of foreign trade. These findings suggest that (i) the origin of the Spanish downturn had a domestic source –with a drop in GDP, investment and imports–; (ii) the external economic and political situation affected the Spanish economy with some delay –with a drop in foreign trade and investment–; and, (iii) the socio-political situation delineated the recovery pattern.
    Keywords: The Great Depression, Spanish economy, Foreign Trade.
    JEL: E30 F40 N14 N44
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Johan Fourie (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch, Utrecht University); Jan Luiten van Zanden (University of Stellenbosch, Centre for Global Economic History, Utrecht University)
    Abstract: New estimates of GDP of the Dutch Cape Colony (1652-1795) suggest that the Cape was one of the most prosperous regions during the eighteenth century. This stands in sharp contrast to the perceived view that the Cape was an “economic and social backwater”, a slave economy with slow growth and little progress. Following a national accounts framework, we find that Cape settlers’ per capita income is similar to the most prosperous countries of the time – Holland and England. We trace the roots of this result, showing that it is partly explained by a highly skewed population structure and very low dependency ratio of slavery, and attempt to link the eighteenth century Cape Colony experience to twentieth century South African income levels.
    Keywords: South Africa, Slave, Income, Growth, GDP Per Capita, Production
    JEL: N37
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Marc Badia- Miro; Jordi Guilera; Pedro Lains (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This methodological study provides estimates of Portuguese regional GDP per capita between 1890 and 1980. These estimates were obtained either by following the Geary and Stark (2002) method for industry or directly from regional production data or proxies thereof where available.
    Keywords: historical statistics, regional gdp, portugal
    JEL: N93 R12 N94
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Mathias HOFFMANN; OKUBO Toshihiro
    Abstract: We examine the impact of cross-prefectural differences in financial integration on the regional spread of Japan's Great Recession in the early 1990s. In prefectures with many small manufacturing firms, post-1990 growth was significantly lower if low levels of banking integration with the rest of the country before 1990 existed. The least financially integrated and most credit-dependent prefectures also saw the largest declines in lending by major banks operating nationwide. This suggests that financing frictions were more severe in less financially integrated regions. We then show that cross-prefectural differences in financial integration in the late 20th century can be explained by regionally different pathways to financial development after Japan's opening in the late 19th century. Silk reeling emerged as Japan's main export industry after 1868. The silk industry was heavily dependent on credit for working capital, but silk reelers in the mountainous regions of central Japan generally could not borrow from the large banks in Yokohama or the other major cities. Instead, they either formed local credit cooperatives or local banks were founded with the help of Yokohama silk merchants who then effectively provided the silk reelers with trade credit. The silk regions therefore embarked on a path to financial development in which banking remained centered on a largely mutual or cooperative model and in which banks borrow and lend mainly regionally. Thus, the banking system of the late 19th-century silk-exporting regions was effectively less financially integrated with the rest of the country at the onset of the Great Recession of the 1990s. Using the number of silk filatures per capita at prefecture level in 1895 as an instrumental variable, we corroborate our result that the post-1990 decline was worse in prefectures with low levels of banking integration and high credit dependence.
    Date: 2012–04
  11. By: Holmlund, Bertil (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: The paper studies wage and employment determination in the Swedish business sector from the mid-1910s to the late 1930s. This period includes the boom and bust cycle of the early 1920s as well as the Great Depression of the early 1930s. The events of the early 1920s are particularly intriguing, involving inflation running at an annual rate of 30 percent followed by a period of sharp deflation where nominal wages and prices fell by 30 percent and unemployment increased from 5 to 30 percent. We examine whether relatively standard wage and employment equations can account for the volatile economic development during the interwar years. By and large, the answer is a qualified yes. Industry wages were responsive to industry-specific firm performance, suggesting a significant role for 'insider forces' in wage determination. Unemployment had a strong downward impact on wages. There is evidence that reductions in working time added to wage pressure; yet estimates of labor demand equations suggest that cuts in working time may have slightly increased employment as firms substituted workers for hours.
    Keywords: wage determination, labor demand, interwar labor markets
    JEL: J23 J31 N14 N34
    Date: 2012–04
  12. By: Robert E. Prasch; Thierry Warin
    Abstract: From a historical perspective, as moral hazard was mounting, the Fed deployed a new doctrine, de-regulating to surmount the so-called challenges of globalization, while financial innovation was on the rise. This paper focuses on another aspect of the crisis: moral hazard. If a firm or even a system is said to be too big or interconnected to be allowed to fail, then surely there is something that could and should be learned. In Industrial Organization and more particularly in contract theory, these dynamics are captured by the concept of moral hazard. <p> Although moral hazard may not be the sole cause of the rise of systemic risk within what makes the financial and banking industries, it should be evident that it contributed to the level of systemic risk. <P>
    Date: 2012–04–01
  13. By: Alain Béraud (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)
    Abstract: Review article
    Keywords: Marshall
    Date: 2012–04–24
  14. By: Matthew Jaremski; Peter L. Rousseau
    Abstract: The “Federalist financial revolution” may have jump-started the U.S. economy into modern growth, but the Free Banking System (1837-1862) did not play a direct role in sustaining it. Despite lowering entry barriers and extending banking into developing regions, we find in county-level data that free banks had little or no effect on growth. The result is not just a symptom of the era, as state-chartered banks seem to have strong and positive effects on manufacturing and urbanization.
    JEL: G21 N21 O43
    Date: 2012–04
  15. By: Raghuram Rajan; Rodney Ramcharan
    Abstract: Does credit availability exacerbate asset price inflation? What channels could it work through? What are the long run consequences? In this paper we address these questions by examining the farm land price boom (and bust) in the United States that preceded the Great Depression. We find that credit availability likely had a direct effect on inflating land prices. Credit availability may have also amplified the relationship between the perceived improvement in fundamentals and land prices. When the perceived fundamentals soured, however, areas with higher ex ante credit availability suffered a greater fall in land prices, and experienced higher bank failure rates. Land prices stayed low for a number of decades after the bust in areas that had higher credit availability, suggesting that the effects of booms and busts induced by credit availability might be persistent. We draw lessons for regulatory policy.
    JEL: G01 G21 N1
    Date: 2012–04
  16. By: Luciana Lazzeretti (University of Firenze); Silvia Rita Sedita (University of Padova); Annalisa Caloffi (University of Padova)
    Abstract: Why has the cluster concept proved so successful in this millennium? Which are the authors, the scientific areas, and journals that have helped to enliven the debate in this era, characterized by the transition from a solid modernity to a liquid modernity, as the well-known sociologist Zygmunt Bauman would say? With this work, we have aimed to answer these research questions by adopting an evolutionary approach. By means of a bibliometric analysis based on descriptive statistics and social network analysis tools, we have identified the founders and the main disseminators of the cluster concept across time. The point of departure is an original database, created by the authors, consisting of 1586 academic articles about industrial clusters that have been published from 1989 to 2010 in international scientific journals (source: ISI Web of Science). Our claim is that the Porterian contribution on clusters opens up a global debate over a concept that was Òin the airÓ many years before. The cluster concept is rooted in the Marshallian tradition, and is strongly related to the Italian and European literature, which is more familiar with the narrower concept of the industrial district. By relaxing some of the specific features that characterized the industrial district model, a more inclusive concept is promoted, which, in a prey-predator relationship, assimilates previous contributions. By now, the cluster concept has gained international recognition and been constantly sustained by a theoretical discussion that encompasses a variety of disciplines and approaches. Our evidence shows that this success can be attributed basically to the liquid properties we have identified: multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary qualities and global dimension.
    Keywords: cluster, industrial districts, liquid modernity, bibliometric analysis, co-citation analysis.
    JEL: R1
    Date: 2012–04
  17. By: Duarte N. Leite (CEF-UP (Center for Economics and Finance at UP), FEP (Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto); Sandra T. Silva (CEF-UP (Center for Economics and Finance at UP), FEP (Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto); Óscar Afonso (CEF-UP (Center for Economics and Finance at UP), FEP (Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto)
    Abstract: Institutions, crucial for the analysis of how agents deal with uncertainty, have been gaining increasing relevance on the Economic research agenda. In this paper, we analyze the institutional literature that provides insights into different research fields, aiming to explain why this perspective obtains better results than others, in the field of growth and Development Economics. In particular, we stress the relevance of New Institutional Economics as an adequate framework for a broad understanding of development issues.
    Keywords: Institutions; Institutional change, Economic development
    JEL: B52 O1 D23
    Date: 2012–04
  18. By: Robert Hoffmann (Nottingham University Business School)
    Abstract: This article surveys the experimental economics approach to the study of religion. The field has a place in the context of the scientific study of religion generally and the social psychology of religion in particular, but employs distinct economic methods which promise new and different insights. In particular, certain features of the experimental approach as used by economists such as incentive compatibility are particularly appropriate for studying the effect of religion on individual behaviour. The paper discusses results obtained so far in terms of two roles of religion in shaping individual behaviour, i.e. as a social group identifier and as a set of values.
    Keywords: religion, religiosity, experiments
    Date: 2011–07
  19. By: Jacopo Costa (; Raul Caruso (; Roberto Ricciuti (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: In this paper we empirically analyze the socio-economic determinants of the existence of military dictatorships in Africa. A recent literature in political economy analyses the relationship between the civil undemocratic government and the military as an agency problem: the civilian government needs the army to avoid internal violence, but a larger army reduces the opportunity-cost for the military to run a coup d’état and seize power. These papers derive three main causes of military rule: income inequality, ethnic fractionalization, and external threat. We empirically analyze these issues by estimating the probability that a country experiences a military rule. We consider 48 African countries over the period 1970-2007.
    Keywords: dictatorship, Africa
    JEL: D74 P48 Q34
    Date: 2012–05
  20. By: Chiara Binelli (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Southampton); Marta Rubio Codina (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: Despite the rapid expansion and increasing importance of private education in developing countries, very little is known about the impact of studying in private schools on educational attainment and wages. This paper contributes to fiÂ…lling this gap by estimating the returns to private high schools in Mexico. We construct a unique dataset that combines labor market outcomes and historical school census data, and we exploit changes in the availability and size of public and private high schools across states and over time for identiÂ…cation. We Â…nd substantial evidence of a positive effect of studying in a private high school on wages after college graduation, and we discuss alternative mechanisms that can explain this Â…finding.
    Keywords: The Market Returns to Private High Schools: Evidence from Mexico
    JEL: J31 J24 C36
    Date: 2012–04
  21. By: Chen, Yiu Por (Vincent) (University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: This paper provides a systematic analysis of the way shifts in property utilization rights in China induced another sequence of institutional changes that led to the rise of rural-urban labor migration from 1980 to 1984, a critical period in the country's market transition. I show that the 1980s' Household Responsibility System (HRS), which brought family farming back from the communal system, endowed rural households not only with land use rights, but also with de facto labor allocation rights. These shifts in property relations promoted a growth in agricultural market size as well as the emergence of intraprovincial non-hukou rural-urban migration, which may have made labor retention policies such as the small township strategy ineffective, and may have given the government an incentive to deregulate its subsequent labor market policy.
    Keywords: rural-urban migration, labor mobility, undocumented labor, institutional change
    JEL: J43 J61 R23 R52 R58
    Date: 2012–04
  22. By: Salvadori, Neri; Signorino, Rodolfo
    Abstract: The paper analyzes Adam Smith’s views on monopoly focusing on Book IV and V of The Wealth of Nations and argues that Smith has left his analysis of monopoly in an embryonic form while the majority of scholars have assessed it starting from premises different from those, actually though implicitly, used by Smith to approach this subject. We show that Smith makes use of the word ‘monopoly’ to refer to a heterogeneous collection of market outcomes, besides that of a single seller market, and that Smith’s account of monopolists’ behavior is richer than that provided by later monopoly theorists.
    Keywords: Competition; Monopoly; Classical Economics; Adam Smith
    JEL: L51 B31 B12 L41 D42
    Date: 2012–04–27
  23. By: Ludivine Chalençon (EA3713 - Centre de Recherche Magellan - Université de Lyon - Université Jean Moulin - Lyon III)
    Abstract: Les fusions-acquisitions suscitent l'intérêt des chercheurs en finance qui tentent de déterminer la performance de ces opérations à haut risque. Bien que les résultats constatés soient plutôt mitigés, cette stratégie de développement est de nouveau en forte croissance. La littérature fait ainsi état d'études mobilisant des méthodologies et des échantillons très différents et qui rencontrent de nombreuses difficultés à trouver des consensus. Cet article a pour objectif de présenter une revue de la littérature de la performance des fusions-acquisitions afin d'améliorer notre compréhension des résultats des précédentes études. Pour ce faire, nous mobilisons quatorze articles parus dans des revues françaises et internationales.
    Keywords: Fusions-Acquisitions ; Performance
    Date: 2011

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