nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2014‒11‒17
eighteen papers chosen by

  1. Introduction: Telling the Story of MIT Economics in the Postwar Period By E. Roy Weintraub
  2. Early Public Banks By Roberds, William; Velde, Francois R.
  3. How the Danes discovered Britain : the international integration of the Danish dairy industry before 1880 By Markus Lampe; Paul Sharp
  4. Economía política de la modernidad By Estrada, Fernando
  5. Regional mortality disparities in Germany: long-term dynamics and possible determinants By Eva U. B. Kibele; Sebastian Klüsener; Rembrandt D. Scholz
  6. Growth and distribution: a revised classical model By BRESSER-PEREIRA, Luiz Carlos
  7. Ethnicity and politics in the Romanian space. The case of northwestern Transylvania By Brie, Mircea
  8. French Colonial Trade Patterns: European Settlement By Cristina Terra; Tania El Kallab
  9. Bubbles and Central Banks: Historical Perspectives By Markus K. Brunnermeier; Isabel Schnabel
  10. El Papel de los Muertos en el Cerebro de los Vivos: Metáforas en las Revoluciones Francesas (1789-99, 1848-51, 1870-71), Iraní (1977-81) y Bolchevique (1917-1924). By Estrada, Fernando
  11. A Post-Keynesian Response to Piketty's "Fundamental Contradiction of Capitalism" By Javier Lopez Bernardo; Felix Lopez Martinez; Engelbert Stockhammer
  12. ICT the Nordic Way and European Savings Banks By Maixe-Altes, J. Carles
  13. Does wealth entirely depend on inclusive institutions and pluralist politics? A review of Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why nations fail By Peer Vries
  14. Azun Candina Polomer, Por una vida digna y decorosa. Clase media y empleados públicos en el siglo XX chileno By Diana Maritza Alzate Mejía
  15. Economía Neoinstitucional. Prueba falsable a las hipótesis de Douglass North en Colombia By Estrada, Fernando
  16. Quake'n and Shake'n...Forever! Long-Run Effects of Natural Disasters: A Case Study on the 1970 Ancash Earthquake By Sebastián J. Miller; Germán Caruso
  17. La cuestión metodológica en Albert Hirschman By Germán Darío Valencia Agudelo
  18. As Críticas de Amartya Sen à Teoria da Escolha Social de Kenneth Arrow By Bruno Beltrame; Laura Valladão de Mattos

  1. By: E. Roy Weintraub
    Abstract: Over the past twenty-five years the Duke history of economics faculty, together with the collection development librarians in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, have been gathering the papers of notable (mostly) twentieth century economists in what is now called The Economists Papers Project (EPP). Over time that archive has grown and become central to historical research on economics in the postwar period. The papers of Edwin Burmeister, Evsey Domar, Franklin Fisher, Duncan Foley, Lawrence Klein, Franco Modigliani, and Robert Solow, all MIT faculty or students, have attracted scholars from around the world. After Paul Samuelson’s death in December 2009, his papers, by prior arrangement, came to the EPP and quickly became a magnet for historians of economics. In response, early in 2010 I was encouraged by my colleagues Kevin Hoover, Bruce Caldwell, Craufurd Goodwin, and Neil De Marchi to plan a conference in the History of Political Economy Annual Conference series to examine the history of MIT economics. After a year’s worth of conversations and emails, I invited a number of individuals to consider a variety of projects exploring MIT’s role in the transformation of American economics in the postwar period. That conference, held in April 2013 at the R. David Thomas Conference Center at Duke University, was sponsored as usual by the Duke University Press. However the very generous financial support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation made possible the expansion of the “standard” HOPE Conference into one that included a larger number of participants and papers. In the end the conferees learned that telling the story of MIT’s role in the postwar period required attending to both the particular circumstances that shaped MIT and the various ways in which economics itself was changing.
    Keywords: MIT, Paul Samuelson, E. B. Wilson, Robert Solow, Graduate Education, historiography of economics
    JEL: A1 A2 B2 B3 D00 E00
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Roberds, William (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta); Velde, Francois R. (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
    Abstract: Publicly owned or commissioned banks were common in Europe from the 15th century. This survey argues that while the early public banks were characterized by great experimentation in their design, a common goal was to create a liquid and reliable monetary asset in environments where such assets were rare or unavailable. The success of these banks was, however, never guaranteed, and even well-run banks could become unstable over time as their success made them susceptible to fiscal exploitation. The popularization of bearer notes in the 18th century broadened the user base for the public banks' money but was also accompanied by increased fiscal abuse. Wartime demands of the Napoleonic Era resulted in the reorganization or dissolution of many early public banks. A prominent exception was the Bank of England, whose adept management of a fiscally backed money provided a foundation for the development of central banks as they exist today.
    Keywords: central banks; exchange banks; public banks
    JEL: E58 N13
    Date: 2014–08–03
  3. By: Markus Lampe; Paul Sharp
    Abstract: The success of Danish agricultural exports at the end of the nineteenth century is often attributed to the establishment of a direct trade with Britain. Previously, exports went mostly via Hamburg, but this changed with the loss of Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia in the war of 1864. After this, quantity and price data imply narrowing price gaps and thus imply gains for Danish producers. Why then did Denmark not discover the British market earlier? We show that butter markets in both countries were integrated in the eighteenth century, but through the Hamburg hub. We then demonstrate that there were sound economic reasons for this well into the nineteenth century. However, movements to establish a direct trade were afoot from the 1850s. Thus, although the war certainly gave an extra boost to the process
    Keywords: Butter , Dairies , Denmark , Hubs , International trade , Market integration
    JEL: F1 L1 N5 N7 Q1
    Date: 2014–10
  4. By: Estrada, Fernando
    Abstract: This article consists of three parts. The first response to the idea of ​​keeping TOCQUEVILLE own arguments in Old Regime and the Revolution, without reproducing copiously text line by line. This component is the main concerns and conflicting judgments about the revolution, the decisive role that the author gives to religion and how Europe was in ruins. Tocqueville is particularly interested in showing the exacting nature of feudal rights especially in France. Administrative centralization is an institution par excellence of the Old Regime and the same process. In the second part devoted several sessions to understand the reasons TOCQUEVILLE claims to show the history of property rights and land tenure. In the third session we show the influence of the Revolution and encyclopedic deviations could have brought the author. The reformist spirit of the French during the period from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Tocqueville scholars encounter numerous observations annotations that can supplement your readings.
    Keywords: Political economics, History of Economics. Tocqueville, Modernity
    JEL: B10 B11 B15 B31 Z11 Z13
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Eva U. B. Kibele (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sebastian Klüsener (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Rembrandt D. Scholz (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: While regional mortality inequalities in Germany tend to be relatively stable in the short run, over the course of the past century marked changes have occurred in the country’s regional mortality patterns. These changes include not only the re-emergence of stark differences between eastern and western Germany after 1970, which have almost disappeared again in the decades after Germany’s unification in 1990; but also substantial changes in the patterns in northern and southern Germany. By the end of the 19th century, the northern regions in Germany had the highest life expectancy levels, while the southern regions had the lowest. Today, this mortality pattern is reversed. In this paper, we study these long-term trends in spatial mortality disparities in Germany since 1900, and link them with theoretical considerations and existing research on the possible determinants of these pattern. Our findings support the view that the factors which contributed to shape spatial mortality variation have changed substantially over time, and suggest that the link between regional socioeconomic conditions and mortality outcomes strengthened over the last 100 years.
    Keywords: Germany, mortality, socio-economic conditions, spatial analysis
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2014–10
  6. By: BRESSER-PEREIRA, Luiz Carlos
    Abstract: This paper discusses distribution and the historical phases of capitalism. It assumes that technical progress and growth are taking place, and, given that, its question is on the functional distribution of income between labor and capital, having as reference classical theory of distribution and Marx’s falling tendency of the rate of profit. Based on the historical experience, it, first, inverts the model, making the rate of profit as the constant variable in the long run and the wage rate, as the residuum; second, it distinguishes three types of technical progress (capital-saving, neutral and capital-using) and applies it to the history of capitalism, having the UK and France as reference. Given these three types of technical progress, it distinguishes four phases of capitalist growth, where only the second is consistent with Marx prediction. The last phase, after World War II, should be, in principle, capital-saving, consistent with growth of wages above productivity. Instead, since the 1970s wages were kept stagnant in rich countries because of, first, the fact that the Information and Communication Technology Revolution proved to be highly capital using, opening room for a new wage of substitution of capital for labor; second, the new competition coming from developing countries; third, the emergence of the technobureaucratic or professional class; and, fourth, the new power of the neoliberal class coalition associating rentier capitalists and financiers
    Date: 2014–10–29
  7. By: Brie, Mircea
    Abstract: The ethnic structure of this region has been heavily influenced by the evolution of the various historico-geographical factors and policies. Most of this structure, however, is linked to the evolution of the denominational structure. Ethnicity in this case is closely related to religion. The political reality, the events with political overtones that occurred during these centuries had a direct influence regarding the conduct of processes and phenomena related to the ethno-confessional evolution of the area subject to our research. In this period the region is part of the Austrian state (before 1867), Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867 to 1918), Hungary (1940-1944) and Romania (1918-1940, 1944 - present). This space is located in the western area and it is mainly inhabited by Romanians. The continuous presence of Romanians here is documented ever since its formation. The ethnic group of Romanians has been facing a considerable demographic pressure that came from the Hungarians (the neighbouring ethnic group) or from groups or immigrants settled in this space (we refer in this case mainly to the Germans, Slovaks, Gypsies and Jews). Major geopolitical changes of the twentieth century and political decisions, especially extremist dictatorial regimes (Horthyst-Hungarian and communist-Romanian) led to significant changes in the ethnic structure of the region northwest Transylvania. Policy decisions, especially those taken during the dictatorial political and extremist regimes during the twentieth century were able to seriously affect ethno-religious realities of the Romanian space, especially in Transylvania. Be it the Hungarian or Romanian authorities during the two world wars or the communist dictatorship, decisions were taken that changed the ethnic map of the Romanian space. Suffice it to recall the drama of the Jewish community of the Second World War or the „sale†of the Germans and the Jews by the Communists in the postwar period.
    Keywords: ethnicity; Transylvania; diversity; Romanians; Hungarians; political decisions
    JEL: F5
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Cristina Terra; Tania El Kallab (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: We investigate how the colonial strategy through the settlement decision aected French trade patterns. In this regard, we construct a new database relying on various primary histori- cal sources containing information on the value of French sectoral trade between 1880 and 1913. Our results show that French colonies with more European settlements traded more with France, whereas the opposite is true for other colonies. We also investigate two channels through which European settlements might have aected the French trade pattern with colonies: institutions and networking. We nd that better institutions brought by European settlements had a nega- tive impact on trade with French colonies, while it promoted trade with British colonies. These results are consistent with the extractive nature of French trade relations with its colonies. As for networking, it increases overall French trade within French colonies but reduces it in other colonies.
    Keywords: European Settlement, Institutions, Networking, Trade, Colonization
    JEL: D85 N50 N53 N70 P16 P51
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton University); Isabel Schnabel
    Abstract: This paper reviews some of the most prominent asset price bubbles from the past 400 years and documents how central banks (or other institutions) reacted to those bubbles. The historical evidence suggests that the emergence of bubbles is often preceded or accompanied by an expansionary monetary policy, lending booms, capital inflows, and financial innovation or deregulation. We find that the severity of the economic crisis following the bursting of a bubble is less linked to the type of asset than to the financing of the bubble – crises are most severe when they are accompanied by a lending boom, high leverage of market players, and when financial institutions themselves are participating in the buying frenzy. Past experience also suggests that a purely passive “cleaning up the mess” stance towards inflating bubbles in many cases is costly. At the same time, while interest - rate leaning policies and macroprudential tools can and sometimes have helped to deflate bubbles and mitigate the associated economic crises, the correct implementation of such proactive policy approaches remains fraught with difficulties.
    Date: 2014–10–31
  10. By: Estrada, Fernando
    Abstract: This paper work assesses the key aspects of a framework for research on revolutions. Our approach includes a heuristic based on an idea suggested by Marx in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the livingâ€. From this maxim of Marx advance on conventional interpretations by postulating that the language and metaphors are a challenge in several respects: (1) The brain is a physical basis for understanding key political revolutions, (2) advances in neuroscience and language (Lakoff/Johnson/Narayanan) have allowed the reconstruction of conceptual frameworks in various fields, including philosophy, mathematics and politics (3) The language expressed in songs, text, flags, emblems, illustrations, slogans, speeches and rumors is key to represent and demonstrate loyalty to the idea of revolution and, more crucially, to “make†the revolution, (4) Metaphors are a powerful rational action in revolutionary processes. One interpretation of these can contribute to decipher, for example, how the brain are activated in neural systems that link past and present, how to operate the symbolic frameworks of language to influence political opinion, how metaphors interact with processes artificial simulation or how metaphors evolve in a revolution from simple metaphors.
    Keywords: Revolutions, French Revolution, Iran Revolution, Russian Revolutions, Language, Neural Theory
    JEL: B2 B24 B31 B41 D87 F51 F52 N10 P2 P26 P31
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Javier Lopez Bernardo (Kingston University); Felix Lopez Martinez; Engelbert Stockhammer
    Abstract: In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economist Thomas Piketty develops a new and rich set of data that deals with income and wealth distribution, output-wealth dynamics and rates of return, and has proposed as well some "laws of capitalism". At the core of his theoretical argument lies the "fundamental inequality of capitalism", an empirical regularity that states that the rate of return on wealth is higher than the growth rate of the economy. This simple construct allows him to conclude that increasing wealth (and income) inequality is an inevitable outcome of capitalism. While we share some of his conclusions, we will highlight some shortcomings of his approach based on a Cambridge post-Keynesian growth-and-distribution model. We argue, first, that r>g (i.e. that the rate of return on wealth is greater than the growth rate of the economy) is not necessarily associated with increasing inequality in functional distribution; second, Piketty commits a fallacy-of-composition argument when he says that the necessary condition for r>g is that capitalists have to save a high amount of their capital income; third, post-Keynesian economists can learn from Piketty’s insights about personal income distribution and incorporate them into their models; and, fourth, we reiterate the post-Keynesian argument that a well-behaved aggregate production function does not exist and it therefore cannot explain the distribution of income.
    Keywords: Rate of return, income distribution, post-Keynesian growth and distribution models, Cambridge equation, Pasinetti's theorem
    JEL: B22 B50 E12 O40
    Date: 2014–10
  12. By: Maixe-Altes, J. Carles
    Abstract: This paper discusses the world industry of savings banks, a genuine world collaborative consortium, through which, from the 1950s, the International Savings Banks Institute (nowadays, the World Savings Banks Institute and European Savings Banks Group) was highly active in introducing ICT to retail banking. In this environment, Nordic savings banks, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, their Central Savings Banks and their industry associations occupied a separate place in European movements around developments of computerization and automation in retail financial services. The synergies in Nordic countries were superior to the rest of Europe and collaboration was intense. This paper highlights the leadership and the influence that the ICT development models of Nordic savings banks had on their European retail banking associates.
    Keywords: computers, savings banks collaboration, retail banking, Europe, Nordic countries, technological change
    JEL: G21 N24 O33
    Date: 2014–08
  13. By: Peer Vries
    Abstract: Resumen: The authors of the book reviewed here need no introducing. They are amongst the most-frequently cited scholars in the social sciences. They wrote many highly influential articles, as a rule together with Simon Johnson, and already published a book together in 2006. Their book needs no further praise; it opens with jacket quotes of praise by no fewer than five Nobel-prize winners in economics, and by amongst others Jared Dia- mond, Niall Ferguson, Francis Fukuyama, Joel Mokyr, Dani Rodrik and Ian Morris. It would not make much sense to add my humble eulogy to such distinguished recommendation. I will therefore mainly confine myself to critical comments. Not because one can only criticize the book, although I am less impressed than the ‘reviewers’ I just referred to, but because amidst all that praise some critical counterpoise from an economic histo- rian can do no harm.
    Date: 2013–12–16
  14. By: Diana Maritza Alzate Mejía
    Abstract: Resumen: El libro, al que en la presente reseña se hace referencia, fue escrito por la Doctora en Historia, por la Universidad Católica de Valparaíso con mención en historia de Chile, Azun Candina Polomer. Sus principales áreas de interés son, la Historia Social de Chile y América Latina en el siglo XX. Su carrera académica se ha desarrollado en el contexto de los procesos de democratización y, consecuentemente, su trabajo se ha centrado en temas como la memoria, el autoritarismo y la reforma democrática del Estado. En su trabajo, como historiadora, puede apreciarse un intento por contribuir, desde la Historia, al debate en torno a la convivencia democrática, la participación, la construcción de identidades colectivas y la superación de situaciones históricas, como el autoritarismo y la violencia.
    Keywords: Convivencia democrática; Autoritarismo; Identidades colectivas.
    Date: 2013–06–27
  15. By: Estrada, Fernando
    Abstract: This paper aims to propose a reading of [des] political order in Colombia, using as a theoretical source of Douglass North's reflections on the economic formation of political institutions. The contributions of this letter are very preliminary in nature and can better be understood taking into account two objectives of the research project: (1) explain why, in Colombia there are very limited conditions for coordinating collective action, (2) what direct and indirect effects on the [des] political order has been armed conflict and civil war.
    Keywords: Douglass North, Neoinstitutionalism, Colombia, Violence
    JEL: B2 B25 B41 K4 O5 O54
    Date: 2004
  16. By: Sebastián J. Miller; Germán Caruso
    Abstract: This study estimates the effects of the 1970 Ancash earthquake on human capital accumulation on the affected and subsequent generation, 37 years after the shock, using the Peruvian censuses of 1993 and 2007. The main finding is that males affected by the earthquake in utero completed on average 0. 5 years less schooling while females affected by the earthquake completed 0. 8 years less schooling. Surprisingly, those whose mothers were affected at birth by the earthquake have 0. 4 less years of education, while those whose fathers were affected by the earthquake at birth have no effects on their education. The evaluation of other outcomes also suggests that the level of welfare of the affected individuals has been negatively impacted in the long run. The present investigation supports previous literature on shocks in early childhood, providing evidence of the existence of intergenerational transmission of shocks.
    Keywords: Youth & Children, Education, Disasters, Poverty, Natural disasters, Intergenerational transmission, Long-term effects
    Date: 2014–10
  17. By: Germán Darío Valencia Agudelo
    Abstract: Resumen: Albert Hirschman fue un economista poco convencional. Su metodología de investigación y exposición se distancia abismalmente de la utilizada por la corriente principal en la ciencia económica. El artículo hace una aproximación a la cuestión metodológica en Hirschman. Aunque no se encuentra un tratado escrito por el autor para discutir el tema, sus trabajos son claros ejemplos de como abordar metodológicamente los objetos sociales de estudio: esta se sintetiza en partir de la realidad para diagnosticar problemas y proponer soluciones, utilizando la teoría económica y buscando en otras disciplinas la forma de complementar los análisis y recomendaciones. Además su método de exposición se caracteriza por dirigirse a todo público de manera clara y simple.
    Keywords: Epistemología económica; Economía política; Metodología de la economía; Albert Hirschman.
    JEL: B41 B59 D82 D86
    Date: 2013–06–27
  18. By: Bruno Beltrame; Laura Valladão de Mattos
    Abstract: Este artigo visa a sistematizar as críticas que Amartya Sen dirige à estrutura teórica adotada por Arrow e a mostrar como, para fugir aos resultados devastadores do teorema da Impossibilidade, Sen defende a ampliação do universo de informações a serem utilizadas para embasar a escolha social. Inicialmente é apresentado um breve apanhado da teoria da Escolha Social de Arrow com o objetivo de fornecer o pano de fundo para a compreensão das críticas que Sen dirige a esse sistema teórico. Em seguida são expostas as interpretações de Sen sobre as razões que levaram ao resultado da impossibilidade e as críticas que este autor dirige aos fundamentos da teoria de Arrow. Por fim, são tecidas algumas considerações sobre a natureza desta reflexão crítica e suas consequências para a visão de Bem-Estar posteriormente adotada por Sen.
    Keywords: Amartya Sen; Escolha Social; Kenneth Arrow; Teorema da Impossibilidade; base informacional
    JEL: B41 B29
    Date: 2014–10–23

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