New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2014‒02‒15
seventeen papers chosen by

  1. Causes of the British Industrial Revolution By BLINOV, Sergey
  2. Technical Change, Non-Tariff Trade Barriers and the Developmente of the Italian Locomotives Industry, 1850-1913 By Carlo Ciccarelli; Alessandro Nuvolari
  3. Uncertainty Shocks and Equity Return Jumps and Volatility During the Great Depression By Gabriel P. Mathy
  4. Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating By Alan Barreca; Karen Clay; Joel Tarr
  5. Can cities be trapped in bad locations? By Guy Michaels; Ferdinand Rauch
  6. Macroeconomic Consequences of Terms of Trade Episodes, Past and Present By Tim Atkin; Mark Caputo; Tim Robinson; Hao Wang
  8. Trust as a Key Variable of Sustainable Development and Public Happiness: A Historical and Theoretical Example Regarding the Creation of Money By Nicola Genovese; Maria Grazia La Spada
  9. The Long-Term Effects of Protestant Activities in China By Chen, Yuyu; Wang, Hui; Yan, Se
  10. Is There Room for 'Fear' as a Human Passion in the Work by Adam Smith? By Daniela Parisi
  11. Minority Policies of Turkey and Wealth Tax of 1942 By Kaya, Furkan
  12. In brief: Mrs Thatcher's industrial legacy By John Van Reenen
  13. The long-run effects of attending an elite school: evidence from the UK By Clark, Damon; Del Bono, Emilia
  15. The Protestant Ethic and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Religious Minorities from the Former Holy Roman Empire By Nunziata, Luca; Rocco, Lorenzo
  16. Outsourcing and the shift from manufacturing to services By Giuseppe Berlingieri
  17. Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years By Mark Weisbrot; Stephan Lefebvre; Joseph Sammut

  1. By: BLINOV, Sergey
    Abstract: The Industrial Revolution happened in Britain because by the 19-th century the eternal problem faced by humankind, i.e. the problem of hunger, had been resolved on a local scale. Thanks to a unique combination of factors, Britain just overtook the other West European countries (for a short period of time in historical terms) in the understanding that the value of food “depreciates”.
    Keywords: British Industrial Revolution; malthusian trap; international trade
    JEL: F10 F16 N10 O14 O40 Q17
    Date: 2014–02–12
  2. By: Carlo Ciccarelli (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Alessandro Nuvolari (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the dynamics of technical change in the Italian locomotive industry in the period 1850-1913. From an historical point of view, the case of the Italian locomotive industry presents a major point of interest: it was one of the few relatively sophisticated “high-tech” industries in which Italy, a latecomer country, was able to firmly set foot before 1913. Using technical data on the performance of different vintages of locomotives, we construct a new aggregate index of technical change for the industry. Overall the most successful phase for the Italian locomotive industry seems to be period 1895-1913 characterized by a very rapid technical progress and by the effective consolidation of the technological capabilities in this area of two major firms: Breda and Ansaldo. Our re-assessment reveals the critical role of non-tariff trade barriers in the development of this industry.
    Keywords: technical change, non-tariff barriers, locomotives industry, 19th century Italy
    JEL: N73 O33 F13
    Date: 2014–02–07
  3. By: Gabriel P. Mathy
    Abstract: Stock market volatility was extremely high during the Great Depression relative to any other period in American history. At the same time, large negative and positive discontinuous jumps in stock returns can be detected using the Barndor-Nielsen and Shephard (2004) test for jumps in financial time-series. These jumps coincided with periods when stock volatility was high as the arrival of new information about the uncertain future drove both the record stock volatility and the record jumps in stock returns. A timeline of the Depression is outlined, with important events that drove uncertainty highlighted such as the collapse of the banking system, policy changes, the breakdown of the gold standard, monetary policy uncertainty, and war jitters. JEL classification:
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Alan Barreca; Karen Clay; Joel Tarr
    Abstract: Air pollution was severe in many urban areas of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, in part due to the burning of bituminous coal for heat. We estimate the effects of this bituminous coal consumption on mortality rates in the U.S. during the mid 20th century. Coal consumption varied considerably during the 20th century due to coal-labor strikes, wartime oil and gas restrictions, and the expansion of gas pipelines, among other reasons. To mitigate the influence of confounding factors, we use a triple-differences identification strategy that relies on variation in coal consumption at the state-year-season level. It exploits the fact that coal consumption for heating was highest in the winter and uses within-state changes in mortality in non-winter months as an additional control group. Our estimates suggest that reductions in the use of bituminous coal for heating between 1945 and 1960 decreased winter all-age mortality by 1.25 percent and winter infant mortality by 3.27 percent, saving 1,923 all age lives per winter month and 310 infant lives per winter month. Our estimates are likely to be a lower bound, since they primarily capture short-run relationships between coal and mortality.
    JEL: I18 N32 N52 Q53
    Date: 2014–02
  5. By: Guy Michaels; Ferdinand Rauch
    Abstract: After the fall of the Roman Empire, urban life in France became a shadow of its former self, but in Britain it completely disappeared. Guy Michaels and Ferdinand Rauch use these contrasting experiences as a natural experiment to explore the impact of history on economic geography - and what leads cities to get stuck in undesirable locations.
    Keywords: Economic Geography, Economic History, Path Dependence, Transportation
    JEL: R11 N93 O18
    Date: 2014–02
  6. By: Tim Atkin; Mark Caputo; Tim Robinson; Hao Wang
    Abstract: The early 21st century saw Australia experience its largest and longest terms of trade boom. This paper places this recent boom in a long-run historical context by comparing the current episode with earlier cycles. While similarities exist across most episodes, current macroeconomic policy frameworks and settings are quite different to those of the past. This mitigated the broader macroeconomic consequences of the upswing and as the terms of trade decline may do likewise.
    Keywords: Commodity prices, terms of trade, macroeconomic policy
    JEL: E30 E60 N17
    Date: 2014–01
  7. By: Konstantin Yanovskiy (Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy); Sergey Shulgin (RANEPA)
    Abstract: In this paper we tested the hypothesis of the "political" basis for the "economic" rights. We constructed our own variables of political regimes' classification for years 1820-2000. We found significant positive interdependencies between the Democracy's indicators and Economic Growth. Protection of the Private property rights requires, first and foremost, due guaranties for the personal immunity as a key precondition. Power to arrest discretionary undermines any formal guaranties of private property, low taxation benefits etc. Personal immunity should be defended even for "unpleasant" person (say, H. Ford or W. Gates) or for the chieftains' challengers (to make "rights of the meanest … respectable to the greatest"). It means the free speech; religious freedom and other "political rights" should be respected. Democracy, as political competition system weakens governments' power to break personal freedoms and property rights.
    Keywords: : Rule of Law, Rule of Force, Personal Rights, Private Property Protection, Economic Growth
    JEL: P16 P50 N40 O43
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Nicola Genovese (Professor of Economics, University of Messina); Maria Grazia La Spada (University of Messina, Department of Economics, SEAM)
    Abstract: This article purports to trace the origin of money on the basis of factors in interpersonal relationships, affecting a sustainable development and public happiness, namely trust, reciprocity and the concept of we-rationality. Both the historical approach and the one based on traditional economic theory have been found inadequate mainly because they did not take into account these factors. The hypothesis expounded in the paper is that these values underlaid the beginning of economic activity. Initially economic activity was carried out within small human groups. In such groups interpersonal relations were not based on individual self-interest. As a matter of fact, there is historical evidence supporting the notion that the first exchanges were gift-giving and were made possible by trust and reciprocity as expounded by Polanyi (1957) and Sudgen (2000) among others. When the exchanges strengthened between elements of various groups all with the same values and moral characteristics the process toward the creation of money started, without any intrinsic value and the presence of any superior authority. In the paper it is also hypothesized that the creation of money is one of the basic factors in the progress of economic and social activity, together with ancient phenomena as language ad writing. Finally, the paper advocates that in future the economic activity be permeated by those moral values on which a sustainable development can be based. This will, in turn, increase the rate of economic and social growth.
    Keywords: Sustainable Development, Public Happiness, Origin of Money, Behaviour Economics, Exchanges Between Primitive Populations
    JEL: Q01 A13 B15 E
  9. By: Chen, Yuyu; Wang, Hui; Yan, Se
    Abstract: Does culture, and in particular religion, exert an independent causal effect on long-term economic growth, or do culture and religion merely reflect the latter? We explore this issue by studying the case of Protestantism in China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Combining county-level data on Protestant presence in 1920 and socioeconomic indicators in 2000, we find that the spread of Protestantism has generated significant positive effects in long-term economic growth, educational development, and health care outcomes. To better understand whether the relationship is causal, we exploit the fact that missionaries purposefully undertook disaster relief work to gain the trust of the local people. Thus, we use the frequency of historical disasters as an instrument for Protestant distribution. Our IV results confirm and enhance our OLS results. When we further investigate the transmission channels over the long historical period between 1920 and 2000, we find that although improvements in education and health care outcomes account for a sizable portion of the total effects of missionaries’ past activities on today’s economic outcomes, Protestant activities may have also contributed to long-term economic growth through other channels, such as through transformed social values. If so, then a significant amount of China’s growth since 1978 is the result not just of sudden institutional changes but of human capital and social values acquired over a longer historical period.
    Keywords: Protestantism, Economic Growth, Education, Health Care, China
    JEL: I25 N15 N35 O11 O43 Z12
    Date: 2014–01–29
  10. By: Daniela Parisi (Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: The sciences tell us that fears are physical feelings and mental emotions that play a key role in any society. Not many issues related to fear are explored by economists today. The aim of this paper is to go backwards through the history of economic thought, and examine if and how Adam Smith considered fear in his work: in effect, he devoted a great deal of attention to the concept of fear. This paper does not intend to cover the whole of the topic at hand as it would also be useful to investigate the connections between fear and all the other feelings that pervade Smith's thought.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Human Passions, Fear, Sociology, Psychology, Neurosciences
    JEL: B12
    Date: 2014–01
  11. By: Kaya, Furkan
    Abstract: This paper focuses on minorities in Turkey and influences of Second World War period which caused internal discomforts and inequalities upon Turkish minorities. First i review the position of minorities and contribute the framework for understanding the place of non-Muslim groups in Turkey, their challenges and dissapointments as well. Then try to enlighten effects of Second World War period on Turkish minorities and responses in Turkish society. Basically, Jewish people who escaped from Holocaust, the recruitment process of minorities and economic Turkification period, such as; Welath Tax of 1942 are handled in this article.
    Keywords: Minorities, Wealth Tax, Turkey, Jews,
    JEL: B00 H2
    Date: 2014–02–12
  12. By: John Van Reenen
    Abstract: John Van Reenen examines the 'unbalancing' of Britain's economy away from manufacturing since 1979.
    Keywords: Industrial policy, Margaret Thatcher, economy, growth, productivity
    Date: 2014–02
  13. By: Clark, Damon; Del Bono, Emilia
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of elite school attendance on long- run outcomes including completed education, income and fertility. Our data consists of individuals born in the 1950s and educated in a UK dis- trict that assigned students to either elite or non-elite secondary schools. Using instrumental variables methods that exploit the school assign- ment formula, we find that elite school attendance had large impacts on completed education. For women, we find that elite school attendance generated large improvements in labor market outcomes and significant decreases in fertility; for men, we find no elite school impacts on any of these later-life outcomes.
    Date: 2014–02–11
  14. By: Pereira, Renato (University of Algarve); Leite, Joaquim (University of Aveiro); Albino Silva, João (University of Algarve)
    Abstract: This methodological paper defines how to interview people regarding the decision-making process, construction and operation of Faro Airport and its role in the Portuguese tourism policy for the Algarve between 1946 and 1973. The interviewee’s age makes these interviews urgent and unique. We will hear retired workers and people who held head positions at the airport or in other relevant public or private organizations. The interviews will allow the access to data otherwise not attainable or not sufficiently evident in other sources, such as documents. The interview consists of hearing the stories of the people, as a narrative, being the interview a semi-structured, guided and unstructured mix. The use of photographs during the interview will help respondents recall events that occurred decades ago. The interviewee will be selected by snowball sampling technique. Content analysis is the method to obtain data from the transcripts of the interviews, in order to construct a coherent narrative and with the contribution of all the interviews and interviewee. As field instruments, we will use an informed consent form, photographs and the confidentiality form after the interview, which responds to the ethical requirement for confidentiality, consequences of the interview and the role of the researcher.
    Keywords: Interview; Methodology; Historiography; Tourism; Economics; Airport; Aviation; Algarve
    JEL: N10
    Date: 2014–02–07
  15. By: Nunziata, Luca; Rocco, Lorenzo
    Abstract: We propose a new methodology for identifying the causal effect of Protestantism versus Catholicism on the decision to become an entrepreneur. Our quasi-experimental research design exploits religious minorities' strong attachment to religious ethics and the exogenous historical determination of religious minorities' geographical distribution in the regions of the former Holy Roman Empire in the 1500s. We analyse European Social Survey data, collected in four waves between 2002 and 2008, and find that religious background has a significant effect on the individual propensity for entrepreneurship, with Protestantism increasing the probability to be an entrepreneur by around 5 percentage points with respect to Catholicism. Our findings are stable across a number of robustness checks, including accounting for migration patterns and a placebo test. We also provide an extended discussion of the assumptions' validity at the basis of our research design. This paper is one of the first attempts to identify a causal effect, rather than a simple correlation, of religious ethics on economic outcomes.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Religion, Culture, Protestantism, Catholicism.
    JEL: J21 J24 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2014–02–11
  16. By: Giuseppe Berlingieri
    Abstract: Giuseppe Berlingieri looks at the structural transformation of the US economy over the past 60 years.
    Keywords: Structural transformation, outsourcing, professional and business services, inputoutputtables, intermediates
    JEL: D57 L16 L24 L84 O14 O41 O51
    Date: 2014–02
  17. By: Mark Weisbrot; Stephan Lefebvre; Joseph Sammut
    Abstract: This paper compares the performance of the Mexican economy with that of the rest of the region over the past 20 years, based on the available economic and social indicators, and with its own past economic performance. Among the results it finds that Mexico ranks 18th out of 20 Latin American countries in growth of real GDP per person, the most basic economic measure of living standards; Mexico’s poverty rate of in 2012 was almost identical to the poverty rate of 1994; real (inflation-adjusted) wages for Mexico were almost the same in 2012 as in 1994; and unemployment has increased significantly. It also notes that if NAFTA had been successful in restoring Mexico’s pre-1980 growth rate – when developmentalist economic policies were the norm – Mexico today would be a relatively high income country, with income per person significantly higher than that of Portugal or Greece. It is unlikely that immigration reform would be a major political issue in the United States, since relatively few Mexicans would seek to cross the border.
    Keywords: mexico, nafta, trade, poverty, employment, inequality
    JEL: F F5 E E2 E6 F1 F4 F13 F16 F17 F18
    Date: 2014–02

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