nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2014‒10‒13
thirteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Women, Medieval Commerce, and the Education Gender Gap By Graziella Bertocchi; Monica Bozzano
  2. Productivity Growth during the British Industrial Revolution: Revisionism Revisited By Crafts, Nicholas
  3. A History of Bimetallism: Greece, Rome, Middle Ages, Modern Times Creation Date: 1999 By E.J. Weber
  4. The Problem Of Sovereignty In The Liberal Conservatism Of Francois Guizot By Sergey Matveev
  5. Slave prices and productivity at the Cape of Good Hope from 1700 to 1725: did everyone win from the trade? By Sophia du Plessis; Ada Jansen; Dieter von Fintel
  6. The spatial persistence of population and wealth during apartheid: comparing the 1911 and 2011 censuses By Waldo Krugell
  7. External constraint and economic growth in Italy: 1861-2000 By Barbara Pistoresi; Alberto Rinaldi
  8. The Ideology of Early Industrialisation in a Colonial Society: The Indian experience Creation Date: 1986 By T. Raychaudhuri
  9. Emergence of the Tea Industry in Assam: 1834-1900 Creation Date: 1988 By M.A.B. Siddique
  10. UWA Discussion Papers in Economics: The first 250 Creation Date: 1992 By A. Nicholson
  11. Normal Countries: The East 25 Years After Communism By Andrei Shleifer; Daniel Treisman
  12. How did we get to where we are now? Reflections on 50 years of macroeconomic and financial econometrics By Michael Wickens
  13. Forecasting US Real House Price Returns over 1831-2013: Evidence from Copula Models By Rangan Gupta; Anandamayee Majumdar

  1. By: Graziella Bertocchi; Monica Bozzano
    Abstract: We investigate the historical determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in the late nineteenth century, immediately following the country’s Unification. We use a comprehensive newly-assembled database including 69 provinces over twenty-year sub-samples covering the 1861-1901 period. We find robust evidence that female primary school attainment, relative to that of males, is positively associated with the medieval pattern of commerce, along the routes that connected Italian cities among themselves and with the rest of the world. The effect of medieval commerce is particularly strong at the non-compulsory upperprimary level and persists even after controlling for alternative long-term determinants reflecting the geographic, economic, political, and cultural differentiation of medieval Italy. The long-term influence of medieval commerce quickly dissipates after national compulsory primary schooling is imposed at Unification, suggesting that the channel of transmission was the larger provision of education for girls in commercial centers.
    Keywords: Education gender gap, medieval commerce, Italian Unification, political institutions, family types.
    JEL: E02 H75 I25 J16 N33 O15
    Date: 2013–02
  2. By: Crafts, Nicholas (CAGE, The University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper re-examines output and productivity growth during the British industrial revolution in the light of recent research. Revised estimates are presented which incorporate new findings on the structure of employment, in particular, that the level of industrialization in the mid-18th century is now known to be considerably higher than was assumed in earlier work. This implies that industrial labour productivity growth was faster than believed by authors of the 1980s but still slower than earlier writers claimed. It is shown that in most important respects the Crafts-Harley view of macroeconomic growth remains basically intact.
    Keywords: industrial revolution; productivity growth; take-off
    Date: 2014
  3. By: E.J. Weber
  4. By: Sergey Matveev (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The problem of sovereignty is one of the key issues of political philosophy as it prompts a key political question: “Who has the supreme state power?” Who is sovereign: the people, the representation, the monarch or God? The research of this topic was one of the most popular and fruitful areas in political philosophy of the 19th century. In his meditations on sovereignty Francois Guizot was seeking answers to specific questions, such as the causes of decline of the Revolution and the fall of the Napoleonic Empire, the fate of the Bourbon dynasty and vitality of the 1814 Charter. An examination of Guizot’s sovereignty conception would help to reconstruct an important part of political theory of this thinker, shed light on the philosophical roots of French liberalism, demonstrate the ideology’s relation to democratic tradition and reveal complex thinking concerning the status of the sovereignty problem in political practice
    Keywords: Francois Guizot, sovereignty, liberal conservatism, politics, power, society, democracy
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Sophia du Plessis (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Ada Jansen (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Dieter von Fintel (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the economic viability of slavery in the Cape Colony of southern Africa. It has been extensively documented that the affluence of elites was built on the importation of slaves. However, the Dutch East India Company or Verengide Oost-indische Companje (VOC), which administrated the colony, expressed concerns that free settlers had invested too much capital in the trade, so that some indications exist that profitability was not certain for all farmers. In this paper hedonic slave price indices and the value of their marginal productivity have been estimated, to construct annual returns, which are in turn compared with returns on other investments for the period 1700-1725. Hedonic price functions were estimated to remove the anticipated lifetime returns that slaves would yield, and to isolate buyers’ perceived depreciation of the slave for one year. Cobb-Douglas production functions were estimated for average farmers, as well as at various quintiles along the distribution, to evaluate scale effects. Large farmers enjoyed high returns to slavery over most of the period, confirming the assertions that the elite used slaves profitably. Small farmers, however, did not recoup slave costs from agricultural production: this suggests either that they overinvested in slavery relative to other capital goods (e.g. ploughs or wagons), or that they used slaves profitably outside of agriculture.
    Keywords: Cape Colony, Productivity of slaves, Profitability of slaves
    JEL: J47 J21 N37
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Waldo Krugell
    Abstract: This article examines the spatial distribution of people and wealth in South Africa over the period 1911 to 2011. Economic development is typically characterised by agglomeration, but Apartheid policies tried to separate people and disperse economic activity. Zipf’s Law is used to examine the balance of these forces. The results show that Apartheid’s interventions could not stop agglomeration, which seems to have continued to the point of over-concentration today. Wealth has become increasingly concentrated in places of initial white settlement and the large urban agglomerations.
    Keywords: apartheid, population, spatial development, Agglomeration, Zipf’s Law, South Africa
    JEL: N97 R12
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Barbara Pistoresi; Alberto Rinaldi
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between external constraint and economic growth in Italy from 1861 to 2000. In particular, it investigates whether the persistent current account deficits in the 1861-1913 years constrained output growth. To this aim it studies the genesis of the current account fluctuations, that is whether these were generated by the dynamics of the GDP or by variations in capital inflows. Using integration and co-integration analysis and the Granger causality testing, it shows that in the long run Italy’s external position is sustainable: the Italian economy seems to have used the external deficits (surpluses) to smooth its aggregate consumption. Moreover in the shorter 1861-1913 sub-period, the persistent current account deficits, financed by foreign capital inflows, do not seem to have curbed economic growth.
    Keywords: Current account, economic growth, Italy, Granger causality
    JEL: F43 O11 N1 N7
    Date: 2013–05
  8. By: T. Raychaudhuri
  9. By: M.A.B. Siddique
  10. By: A. Nicholson
  11. By: Andrei Shleifer; Daniel Treisman
  12. By: Michael Wickens
    Abstract: This lecture is about how best to evaluate economic theories in macroeconomics and finance, and the lessons that can be learned from the past use and misuse of evidence. It is argued that all macro/finance models are ‘false’ so should not be judged solely on the realism of their assumptions. The role of theory is to explain the data, They should therefore be judged by their ability to do this. Data mining will often improve the statistical properties of a model but it does not improve economic understanding. These propositions are illustrated with examples from the last fifty years of macro and financial econometrics.
    Keywords: Theory and evidence in economics, DSGE modelling, time series modelling, asset price modelling
    JEL: B1 C1 E1 G1
    Date: 2014–09
  13. By: Rangan Gupta; Anandamayee Majumdar
    Abstract: Given the existence of non-normality and nonlinearity in the data generating process of real house price returns over the period of 1831-2013, this paper compares the ability of various univariate copula models, relative to standard benchmarks (naive and autoregressive models) in forecasting real US house price over the annual out-of-sample period of 1859-2013, based on an in-sample of 1831-1858. Overall, our results provide overwhelming evidence in favor of the copula models (Normal, Student’s t, Clayton, Frank, Gumbel, Joe and Ali-Mikhail-Huq) relative to linear benchmarks, and especially for the Student’s t copula, which outperforms all other models both in terms of in-sample and out-of-sample predictability results. Our results highlight the importance of accounting for non-normality and nonlinearity in the data generating process of real house price returns for the US economy for nearly two centuries of data.
    Keywords: House Price; Copula Models; Forecasting
    JEL: C22 C53 R3
    Date: 2014–09–25

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