New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2013‒01‒19
thirteen papers chosen by

  1. Institutions and Agents of Technological Diffusion in 19th Century Spain By Pretel, David; Saiz, Patricio
  2. World Human Development: 1870-2007 By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  3. History, Gravity and International Finance By Livia Chițu; Barry Eichengreen; Arnaud J. Mehl
  4. Inequality in Post-Independence Namibia: the Unfinished Agenda By Sebastian Levine; Benjamin Roberts
  5. Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century By Alan Barreca; Karen Clay; Olivier Deschenes; Michael Greenstone; Joseph S. Shapiro
  6. Shocking Labor Supply: A Reassessment of the Role of World War II on U.S. Women’s Labor Supply By Claudia Goldin; Claudia Olivetti
  7. U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations By Richard J. Murnane
  8. Challenges of International Management on the Dawn of the 21st Century By Jean-Paul Lemaire; Ulrike Mayrhofer; Eric Milliot
  9. The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years By Verónica Amarante; Andrea Vigorito
  10. Chiefs: Elite Control of Civil Society and Economic Development in Sierra Leone By Daron Acemoglu; Tristan Reed; James A. Robinson
  11. Gestion des risques : histoire, définition et critique By Georges Dionne
  12. Empirical Research on Corporate Credit-Ratings: A Literature Review By Alexander B. Matthies; ; ;
  13. Poverty dynamics in rural Orissa: Transitions in assets and occupations over generations By Magnus Hatlebakk

  1. By: Pretel, David (Trinity Hall. University of Cambridge); Saiz, Patricio (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
    Abstract: Although some recent studies have provided fresh intellectual insights on the role of patent practitioners during the nineteenth century, they have largely overlooked the activity of these actors in international patenting and peripheral countries. This study will fill a gap in the existing scholarship through an examination of the role and influence of patent agents in Spain from the introduction of the country’s first modern intellectual property law in 1826 to the regulation of agents’ practice in 1902. The study explores the range of activities carried out by those individuals employed by Spanish and foreign patentees to deal with both the patent application process and the commercialisation of property rights. Our argument here is that a focus on patent agents and other forms of agency can provide us with a better understanding of processes of invention, innovation and technology transfer in the European periphery during the nineteenth century. The history of technology in the periphery requires attention not only to the incentives for innovation but also to the social procedure of transmission of knowledge, ideas and information as well as the actors involved in this activity. Our focus cannot be solely on the transfer and communication of knowledge and information from advanced industrial nations to ‘backward’ ones; it must also include the processes of interaction, exchange and appropriation that occurred in both directions.
    Keywords: agency, agents, patents, technology transfer.
    JEL: N73 O33 O34
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: How has wellbeing evolved over time and across regions? How does the West compare to the Rest? What explains their differences? These questions are addressed using an historical index of human development. A sustained improvement in wellbeing has taken place since 1870. The absolute gap between OECD and the Rest widened over time, but an incomplete catching up –largely explained by education- has occurred since 1913 but fading away after 1970, when the Rest fell behind the OECD in terms of longevity. As the health transition was achieved in the Rest, the contribution of life expectancy to human development improvement declined. Meanwhile, in the OECD, as longevity increased, healthy years expanded. A large variance in human development is noticeable in the Rest since 1970, with East Asia, Latin America and North Africa catching up to the OECD, while Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa falling behind.
    Keywords: Wellbeing, Human Development, HDI, Life Expectancy, Education
    JEL: O15 O50 I00 N30
    Date: 2013–01
  3. By: Livia Chițu; Barry Eichengreen; Arnaud J. Mehl
    Abstract: We analyze patterns of bilateral financial investment using data on US investors' holdings of foreign bonds. We document a "history effect" in which the pattern of holdings seven decades ago continues to influence holdings today. 10 to 15% of the cross-country variation in US investors' foreign bond holdings is explained by holdings 70 years ago, plausibly reflecting fixed costs of market entry and exit together with endogenous learning. This effect is twice as large for bonds denominated in currencies other than the dollar, suggesting the existence of even higher fixed costs of initiating US foreign investment in such currencies. Our findings point to history and path dependence as key sources of financial market segmentation.
    JEL: F30 N20
    Date: 2013–01
  4. By: Sebastian Levine (UNDP); Benjamin Roberts (Human Sciences Research Council)
    Abstract: The economic, political and social transition of Namibia over the past two decades has been remarkable. From being mired in a protracted guerrilla war and after a century of colonial rule? until 1990 as a de facto annex to the South African Apartheid state?the country is now widely regarded as one of the more stable and well-governed democracies on the continent. Moreover, it is classified as ?upper middle income?, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) almost three times the average for sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, because of extreme levels of inequality, average GDP remains a particularly deceptive measure of welfare in Namibia. (?)
    Date: 2012–12
  5. By: Alan Barreca; Karen Clay; Olivier Deschenes; Michael Greenstone; Joseph S. Shapiro
    Abstract: Adaptation is the only strategy that is guaranteed to be part of the world's climate strategy. Using the most comprehensive set of data files ever compiled on mortality and its determinants over the course of the 20th century, this paper makes two primary discoveries. First, we find that the mortality effect of an extremely hot day declined by about 80% between 1900-1959 and 1960-2004. As a consequence, days with temperatures exceeding 90°F were responsible for about 600 premature fatalities annually in the 1960-2004 period, compared to the approximately 3,600 premature fatalities that would have occurred if the temperature-mortality relationship from before 1960 still prevailed. Second, the adoption of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in the temperature-mortality relationship. In contrast, increased access to electricity and health care seem not to affect mortality on extremely hot days. Residential AC appears to be both the most promising technology to help poor countries mitigate the temperature related mortality impacts of climate change and, because fossil fuels are the least expensive source of energy, a technology whose proliferation will speed up the rate of climate change.
    JEL: I10 I12 I18 Q54
    Date: 2013–01
  6. By: Claudia Goldin; Claudia Olivetti
    Abstract: The most prominent feature of the female labor force across the past hundred years is its enormous growth. But many believe that the increase was discontinuous. Our purpose is to identify the short- and long-run impacts of WWII on the labor supply of women who were currently married in 1950 and 1960. We use mobilization rates for various groups of men (by age, race, fatherhood) to see whether there was a wartime impact. We find that an aggregate mobilization rate produces the largest and most robust impacts on both weeks worked and the labor force participation of married white (non-farm) women. The impact, moreover, was experienced primarily by women in the top half of the education distribution. Women who were married but without children during WWII were the group most impacted by the mobilization rate in 1950, although by 1960 WWII still influenced the labor supply decisions of them as well as those with children during WWII. We end the paper with a resolution between the watershed and revisionist views of the role of WWII on female labor supply.
    JEL: J16 J2 N3
    Date: 2013–01
  7. By: Richard J. Murnane
    Abstract: I survey the evidence on patterns in U.S. high school graduation rates over the period 1970-2010 and report the results of new research conducted to fill in holes in the evidence. I begin by pointing out the strengths and limitations of existing data sources. I then describe six striking patterns in graduation rates. They include stagnation over the last three decades of the twentieth century, significant race-, income-, and gender-based gaps, and significant increases in graduation rates over the first decade of the twenty-first century, especially among blacks and Hispanics. I then describe the models economists use to explain the decisions of individuals to invest in schooling, and examine the extent to which the parameters of the models explain recent patterns in graduation rates. I find that increases in the nonmonetary costs of completing high school and the increasing availability of the GED credential help to explain stagnation in the face of substantial gaps between the wages of high school graduates and school dropouts. I point out that there are several hypotheses, but to date, very little evidence to explain the increases in high school graduation rates over the first decade of the twenty-first century. I conclude by reviewing the evidence on effective strategies to increase high school graduation rates, and explaining why the causal evidence is quite modest.
    JEL: C81 I21 I24 J15 J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2013–01
  8. By: Jean-Paul Lemaire (ESCP-EAP - ESCP-EAP - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris); Ulrike Mayrhofer (EA3713 - Centre de Recherche Magellan - Université de Lyon - Université Jean Moulin - Lyon III); Eric Milliot (CEREGE - CEntre de REcherche en GEstion - Université de Poitiers : EA1722 - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Poitiers)
    Abstract: This article explores the multiple and interwoven effects of accelerating international market integration in order to allow economic actors to better distinguish upcoming stakes. The authors identified four related, often connected, research perspectives within the international business field. Each of these areas is studied in turn: integrating new logics of diagnostic and decision-making, considering new types of stakeholders, changing balance of power between economic territories and players, and strengthening the relationship between intercultural evolutions and the transformation of organizational plans.
    Keywords: Globalisation ; international management ; research perspectives.
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Verónica Amarante (ECLAC/CEPAL); Andrea Vigorito (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
    Abstract: During the first half of the 20th century, Uruguay was able to establish an institutional system of universal social policies in the areas of education, labour and health which involved the coverage of most of the population (Filgueira, 1994). In the context of social protection, a system of contributory cash-based transfers was created which aimed to protect workers in the formal sector?and through them their families?and to provide them with an adequate retirement to replace their income. With regard to non-contributory transfers, in 1919 a social pension scheme for elderly and disabled people was created, targeting those people over 70 years of age considered socially vulnerable. In 1942 the system of contributory Family Allowances (Asignaciones Familiares) came into force, consisting of monthly cash benefits to workers in the formal sector with children. (...)
    Keywords: The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years
    Date: 2012–08
  10. By: Daron Acemoglu; Tristan Reed; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: The lowest level of government in sub-Saharan Africa is often a cadre of chiefs who raise taxes, control the judicial system and allocate the most important scarce resource - land. Chiefs, empowered by colonial indirect rule, are often accused of using their power despotically and inhibiting rural development. Yet others view them as traditional representatives of rural people, and survey evidence suggests that they maintain widespread support. We use the colonial history of Sierra Leone to investigate the relationships between chiefs' power on economic development, peoples' attitudes and social capital. There, a chief must come from one of the ruling families recognized by British colonial authorities. Chiefs face less competition and fewer political constraints in chiefdoms with fewer ruling families. We show that places with fewer ruling families have significantly worse development outcomes today - in particular, lower rates of educational attainment, child health, and non-agricultural employment. But the institutions of chiefs' authority are also highly respected among villagers, and their chiefdoms have higher levels of "social capital," for example, greater popular participation in a variety of “civil society" organizations and forums that might be used to hold chiefs accountable. We argue that these results are difficult to reconcile with the standard principle-agent approach to politics and instead reflect the capture of civil society organizations by chiefs. Rather than acting as a vehicle for disciplining chiefs, these organizations have been structured by chiefs to control society.
    JEL: D72 N27 O12
    Date: 2013–01
  11. By: Georges Dionne
    Abstract: L’étude de la gestion des risques a débuté après la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. La gestion des risques a pendant longtemps été associée à l’utilisation de l’assurance de marché pour protéger les individus et les entreprises contre différentes pertes associées à des accidents. Des formes de gestion des risques purs, alternatives à l’assurance de marché, ont pris forme durant les années 1950 lorsque l’assurance de marché a été perçue très coûteuse et incomplète. L’utilisation des produits dérivés, comme instruments de gestion de risques financiers, a débuté durant les années 1970 et s’est développée très rapidement durant les années 1980. C’est aussi durant les années 1980 que les entreprises ont accéléré la gestion financière des risques. La réglementation internationale des risques a débuté durant les années 1990 et les entreprises financières ont développé des modèles de gestion des risques internes et des formules de calcul du capital pour se protéger contre les risques non-anticipés et pour réduire le capital réglementaire. C’est également durant ces années que la gouvernance de la gestion des risques est devenue essentielle, que la gestion des risques intégrée a été introduite et que les premiers postes de gestionnaire des risques ont été créés. Mais toutes ces règlementations, règles de gouvernance et méthodes de gestion des risques n’ont pas été suffisantes pour empêcher la crise financière de 2007.
    Keywords: Gestion des risques, produits dérivés, réglementation, crise financière, marché de l'assurance, autoprotection, autoassurance, gouvernance
    JEL: D81 G21 G22
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Alexander B. Matthies; ; ;
    Abstract: We report on the current state and important older findings of empirical studies on corporate credit ratings and their relationship to ratings of other entities. Specifically, we consider the results of three lines of research: The correlation of credit ratings and corporate default, the influence of ratings on capital markets, and the determinants of credit ratings and rating changes. Results from each individual line are important and relevant for the construction and interpretation of studies in the other two fields, e.g. the choice of statistical methods. Moreover, design and construct of credit ratings and the credit rating scale are essential to understand empirical findings.
    Keywords: Rating agency; Credit Ratings; Through-the-cycle rating methodology; Corporate Governance
    JEL: G20 G24 G30 G32 G34
    Date: 2013–01
  13. By: Magnus Hatlebakk
    Abstract: We investigate whether historic land distribution determines stagnation or development of Indian villages. The empirical analysis is motivated by the Banerjee and Newman (1993) model of occupational choice and economic development. Family histories are collected for a random sample of 800 households. Households are classified into economic categories according to the assets-occupations mix at present and at grandfather's time. Transitions are described, and for a remote district explained, by the historic village land distribution. We also investigate the role of social identity, and find that scheduled tribes are more likely trapped in poverty than scheduled castes.
    Keywords: Poverty trap, Occupational choice
    Date: 2012

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