nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2013‒06‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. World Population Growth and Fertility Patterns, 1960-2000. A Simple Model Explaining the Evolution of World’s Fertility During the Second Half of the 20th Century By Enriqueta Camps
  2. Economies of Scale in Nineteenth Century American Manufacturing Revisited: A Resolution of the Entrepreneurial Labor Input Problem By Robert A. Margo
  3. Clustering Macroeconomic Variables By Chiara Perricone
  4. Labor Surplus and Mass Mobilization: Russian Agriculture during the Great War By Paul Castaneda Dower; Andrei Markevich
  5. La Jewish Colonization Association: Una buena idea, una mala gobernancia By Edgardo Zablotsky
  6. From Smith to Schumpeter: A Theory of Take-Off and Convergence to Sustained Growth By Pietro F. Peretto
  7. Trade Liberalization and Skill Premium in Chile By Yoshimichi Murakami
  8. Commercialization or Engagement: Which Is of More Significance to the U.S. Economy ? By Kenney, Martin
  9. Piracy and Copyright Enforcement Mechanisms By Brett Danaher; Michael D. Smith; Rahul Telang
  10. Market Openness and Culture as Factors that Shape the Gender Gap: a Comparative Study of Urban Latin America and East Asia (1960-2000) By Enriqueta Camps
  11. Decentralisation and Economic Growth - Part 1: How Fiscal Federalism Affects Long-Term Development By Hansjörg Blöchliger
  12. A Tall Story: Characteristics, Causes, and Consequences of Stature Loss By Alan Fernihough; Mark E. McGovern

  1. By: Enriqueta Camps
    Abstract: In this paper we attempt to describe the general reasons behind the world population explosion in the 20th century. The size of the population at the end of the century in question, deemed excessive by some, was a consequence of a dramatic improvement in life expectancies, attributable, in turn, to scientific innovation, the circulation of information and economic growth. Nevertheless, fertility is a variable that plays a crucial role in differences in demographic growth. We identify infant mortality, female education levels and racial identity as important exogenous variables affecting fertility. It is estimated that in poor countries one additional year’ of primary schooling for women leads to 0.614 child less per couple on average (worldwide). While it may be possible to identify a global tendency towards convergence in demographic trends, particular attention should be paid to the case of Africa, not only due to its different demographic patterns, but also because much of the continent’s population has yet to experience improvement in quality of life generally enjoyed across the rest of the planet.
    Keywords: demographic transition, female education, infant mortality, race, convergence
    JEL: J1 J13 J15 J16 N3
    Date: 2013–05
  2. By: Robert A. Margo
    Abstract: In a famous paper, Kenneth Sokoloff argued that the labor input of entrepreneurs was generally not included in the count of workers in manufacturing establishments in the early censuses of manufacturing. According to Sokoloff, this biased downward econometric estimates of economies of scale if left uncorrected. As a fix Sokoloff proposed a particular “rule of thumb” imputation for the entrepreneurial labor input. Using establishment level manufacturing data from the 1850-80 censuses and textual evidence I argue that, contrary to Sokoloff’s claim, the census did generally include the labor of entrepreneurs if it was economically relevant to do so, and therefore Sokoloff’s imputation is not warranted for these census years. However, I also find that the census did understate the labor input in small relative to large establishments as Sokoloff asserted, but for a very different reason. The census purported to collect data on the average labor input but, in fact, the data most likely measure the typical number of workers present. For very small establishments the reported figures on the typical number of workers are biased downwards relative to a true average but this is not the case for large establishments. As a result, the early censuses of manufacturing did overstate labor productivity in small relative to large establishments but the size of the bias is smaller than alleged by Sokoloff.
    JEL: N61
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Chiara Perricone (University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: Many papers have highlighted that some macroeconomic time series present structural instability. The causes of these remarkable changes in the reduced form properties of the macroeconomy is a debated argument. In literature this issue is handled with three main econometric methodologies: structural breaks, regime-switching and time-varying parameters (TVP). Nevertheless all these approaches need some ex ante structure in order to model the change. Based on the Recurrent Chinese Restaurant Process, I have specified a model for an autoregressive process and estimated via particle filter using a conjugate prior, which applied the idea of evolutionary cluster to the study of the instability in output and inflation for US after War World II. This procedure displays some advantages, in particular does not require a strong ex ante structure in order to neither detect the breaks nor manage the evolution of parameters. The application of the cluster procedure to GDP growth and inflation rate for US from 1957 to 2011 shows a good ability in fit the data, moreover it produces a clusterization of the time series that could be interpreted in terms of economic history and it is able to recover key data features without making restrictive assumptions, as in âone-breakâ or TVP models.
    JEL: C18 C22 C51 E17
    Date: 2013–06–11
  4. By: Paul Castaneda Dower (New Economic School); Andrei Markevich (New Economic School and Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We use mass mobilization for World War I as an exogenous source of variation in the labor force to test the extent of agricultural surplus in one of the most quintessential examples of labor surplus, late imperial Russia. We construct district-level panel data describing agricultural production in the Russian Empire before and during the World War I. We show that districts that experienced greater mass mobilization responded by decreasing area under crops. We next demonstrate the differential effects of mobilization for commune and private farm production, peak and slack season production and cereals and animal husbandry production. Taken together, these results suggest that peasants responded to mass mobilization in a dramatic way. We estimate the upper bound of labor surplus in the agricultural sector to be significantly lower than previous estimates; however, our estimate is conditional on this peculiar pattern of labor removal.
    Date: 2013–06
  5. By: Edgardo Zablotsky
    Abstract: En 1891 el Barón Maurice de Hirsch fundó la Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.), a través de la cual habría de conducir un gigantesco proyecto de bienestar social consistente en la inmigración de miles de personas desde el Imperio Ruso hacia nuestro país y su establecimiento en colonias agrícolas. Dedicaremos este paper a analizar la normativa original de la J.C.A., la cual definía las obligaciones y atribuciones del Consejo de Administración, principal órgano de gobierno de la Asociación. Veremos que la misma es clara y su objetivo indudable, conferir al Barón de Hirsch total control sobre las actividades de la Asociación, la cual al fin y al cabo nació por su voluntad de incorporar a toda la judería de Europa Occidental en su proyecto a los fines de negociar con el gobierno del Zar, no por una necesidad económica, dado que prácticamente la totalidad del capital accionario fue provisto por quien habría de conducir la empresa, hasta en sus menores detalles, hasta su imprevisto fallecimiento en Abril de 1896. Este hecho generaría importantes costos de gobernancia en virtud del ineficiente proceso de tomas de decisiones. Ante cualquier conflicto en una Colonia, el Administrador de la misma debería comunicarlo a la Dirección de la J.C.A en Buenos Aires y este a su vez al Consejo de Administración, en la práctica al mismo Hirch, donde quiera que se encontrase en Europa; es claro el costo generado por este continuo intercambio epistolar dado el desarrollo de las comunicaciones a fines del siglo XIX.
    Keywords: Barón Maurice de Hirsch, Jewish Colonization Association, gobernancia
    JEL: D64
    Date: 2013–06
  6. By: Pietro F. Peretto
    Abstract: This paper develops a theory of the emergence of modern innovation-driven Schumpeterian growth. It uses a tractable model that yields a closed-form solution, consisting of an S-shaped (i.e., logistic-like) time path of firm size and a set of equations that express the relevant endogenous variables – GDP, product variety and product quality, consumption, the shares of GDP earned by the factors of production – as functions of firm size. It also obtains closed-form solutions for the dates of the events that drive the economy's phase transitions as functions of the fundamentals. The resulting path of GDP per capita consists of a convex-concave profile replicating the key feature of long-run data: an accelerating phase followed by a deceleration with convergence to a stationary growth rate. Compared to other availables theories, the paper focuses on the within-industry forces that regulate the response of …firms and entrepreneurs to Smithian market expansion.
    Keywords: Endogenous Growth, Firm Size, Market Structure, Take-off
    JEL: E10 L16 O31 O40
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Yoshimichi Murakami (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)
    Abstract: This study empirically analyzes whether trade liberalization increases wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in Chile during 1974–2007. The findings show that tariff reductions contributed to increases in wage inequality by causing price reductions of unskilled labor-intensive goods protected with the highest tariffs prior to trade liberalization. In contrast, we found no evidence that new technologies embodied in capital and intermediate goods caused skill-biased technological change. In addition, this study shows that an increase in the relative supply of college equivalents did not contribute to wage equalization, while an increase in the minimum wages contributed to wage equalization during the period of the democratic governments.
    Date: 2013–06
  8. By: Kenney, Martin
    Abstract: Beginning with the commercialization of genetic engineering (biotechnology) research beginning in the late 1970s and the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, U.S. university administrators quickly built technology licensing (transfer) offices meant to commercialize inventions made by their researchers. By studying technology transfer in electrical engineering and computer science, statistics and mathematics, scientific instruments, and agriculture, this article demonstrates that biotechnology model does not accurately portray the ways in which most university technology is transferred to society. The application of the biotechnology/technology licensing office model to other university disciplines may stifle the diffusion of technology to society due to undue restrictions in the flow of technology; both from the university to society and, as important, the flow of ideas and resources from society to the university. Finally, it cautions against making wholesale changes in current institutional arrangements on the basis of the current U.S.-centric model based on biotechnology. For European policy-makers, the temptation to follow the U.S biotechnology-derived model may disrupt long-standing and quite successful channels of information transfer, while not bringing the supposed benefits of the U.S. model. This is particularly true because research on European university technology transfer is still at a very early stage
    Date: 2013–06–13
  9. By: Brett Danaher; Michael D. Smith; Rahul Telang
    Abstract: Much debate exists around the impact that illegal file sharing may have on the creative industries. Similarly, opinions differ regarding whether the producers of artistic works should be forced to accept any weakening of intellectual property rights resulting from illegal file sharing, or if governments should intervene to protect these rights. This chapter seeks to inform these questions by outlining what we do and do not know from existing academic research. We first discuss whether filesharing displaces sales of media goods and then discuss whether such displacement will lead to reduced incentives to produce new creative works. We continue by summarizing recent findings on what businesses can do to compete with piracy and the effectiveness of anti-piracy interventions on encouraging consumers to migrate from illegal to legal consumption channels. We conclude by demonstrating that without additional empirical evidence, it will be difficult to determine the socially optimal set of strategies and government copyright policies in the digital era.
    JEL: D69 L1 L11 L8 L82 M31 O30
    Date: 2013–06
  10. By: Enriqueta Camps
    Abstract: In this paper we present: 1. The available data on comparative gender inequality at the macroeconomic level and 2. Gender inequality measures at the microeconomic and case study level. We see that market openness has a significant effect on the narrowing of the human capital gender gap. Globalization and market openness stand as factors that improve both the human capital endowments of women and their economic position. But we also see that the effects of culture and religious beliefs are very different. While Catholicism has a statistically significant influence on the improvement of the human capital gender gap, Muslim and Buddhist religious beliefs have the opposite effect and increase human capital gender differences. In the second global era, some Catholic Latin American countries benefited from market openness in terms of the human capital and income gender gap, whereas we find the opposite impact in Buddhist and Muslim countries like China and South Korea where women’s economic position has worsened both in terms of human capital and wage inequality.
    Keywords: wage inequality, gender gap, market openness, human capital, religion, culture
    JEL: J22 J13 J16 N3
    Date: 2013–05
  11. By: Hansjörg Blöchliger
    Abstract: Intergovernmental fiscal frameworks usually reflect fundamental societal choices and history and are not foremost geared towards achieving economic policy objectives. Yet, like most institutional arrangements, fiscal relations affect the behaviour of firms, households and governments and thereby economic activity. This paper presents empirical research on the potential effects of fiscal decentralisation on a set of outcomes such as GDP, productivity, public investment and school performance. The results can be summarised as follows: decentralisation, as measured by revenue or spending shares, is positively associated with GDP per capita levels. The impact seems to be stronger for revenue decentralisation than for spending decentralisation. Decentralisation is strongly and positively associated with educational outcomes as measured by international student assessments (PISA). While educational functions can be delegated either to sub-central governments (SCG) or to schools, the results suggest that both strategies appear to be equally beneficial for educational performance. Finally, investment in physical and – especially – human capital as a share of general government spending is significantly higher in more decentralised countries.<P>Décentralisation et croissance économique : Partie 1 : Comment le fédéralisme budgétaire affecte le développement à long terme<BR>Les cadres budgétaires intergouvernementaux sont habituellement le reflet de choix sociétaux fondamentaux ainsi que de l’histoire, et n’ont pas pour vocation première d’atteindre des objectifs de politique économique. Pourtant, comme la plupart des modalités institutionnelles, les relations budgétaires influent sur le comportement des entreprises, des ménages et des pouvoirs publics et, partant, sur l’activité économique. Le présent document fait une synthèse des études empiriques consacrées aux effets potentiels de la décentralisation budgétaire sur une série de résultats comme le PIB, la productivité, l’investissement public et les performances des établissements scolaires. Ces résultats peuvent être résumés comme suit : la décentralisation, mesurée en pourcentage des recettes ou des dépenses, est corrélée positivement avec le niveau de PIB par habitant. L’impact semble plus marqué pour la décentralisation des recettes que pour celle des dépenses. La décentralisation semble être fortement et positivement corrélée avec les résultats de l’éducation tels que mesurés par le Programme international pour le suivi des acquis des élèves (PISA). Si les fonctions éducatives peuvent être déléguées soit aux échelons infranationaux de l’administration, soit aux établissements scolaires, les résultats donnent à penser que les deux stratégies semblent également bénéfiques pour les performances des écoles. Enfin, l’investissement dans le capital physique mais, plus particulièrement, dans le capital humain exprimé en part des dépenses des administrations publiques, est nettement plus élevé dans les pays décentralisés.
    Keywords: fiscal federalism, public spending, fiscal decentralisation, education decentralisation, dépenses publiques, fédéralisme budgétaire, décentralisation budgétaire, décentralisation de l’éducation
    JEL: H10 H70 I22
    Date: 2013–06–03
  12. By: Alan Fernihough (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin); Mark E. McGovern (Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies)
    Abstract: Height is widely used as an objective measure of health status. It is commonly used in the large body of research evaluating welfare trends in historic populations and the long-run impacts of childhood environment. However, few research papers have examined the extent, causes or consequences of stature loss in aging populations. This is surprising, as many studies rely on the assumption that height is fixed in late adolescence. Using repeated observations on objectively measured data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), we document that stature loss is an important phenomenon among older individuals, and demonstrate how the use of unadjusted height will dramatically overstate health improvements for younger birth cohorts in cross sectional data. We show that there is an absence of consistent predictors of stature loss at the individual level. However, we exploit the panel element of the ELSA survey to show how deteriorating health and stature loss occur in tandem. While our analysis details the inherent bias of height measurements in older populations, we do not find that significant differences arise from the use of unadjusted height as an input in typical empirical health production function models.
    Keywords: Height, Stature Loss, Early Life Conditions, Health, Aging
    JEL: I10 I12 J11
    Date: 2013–05

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