nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2014‒12‒19
twenty-six papers chosen by

  1. Consequences of a universal European demographic transition on regional and global population distributions By Vegard Skirbekk; Marcin Stonawski; Guido Alfani
  2. Economic Development and the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid: A Historical Perspective By Sebastian Edwards
  3. The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference By Galor, Oded; Özak, Ömer
  4. The Great Mortgaging: Housing Finance, Crises, and Business Cycles By Òscar Jordà; Moritz Schularick; Alan M. Taylor
  5. The Evolution of Bank Supervision: Evidence from U.S. States By Kris James Mitchener; Matthew Jaremski
  6. It takes a quarter of a century to build a dynamic capability : Supplier relations management at Renault (1975-1999) By Donada, Carole; Nogatchewsky, Gwenaëlle; Pezet, Anne
  7. Investment Banks as Corporate Monitors in the Early 20th Century United States By Carola Frydman; Eric Hilt
  8. Varieties of Keynesianism By Duncan Foley
  9. Discovering the dark heart of Italian capitalism: a perspective from Supreme Court legal cases and business consultants’ analyses (1950s-1970s) By Paolo DI Martino; Michelangelo Vasta
  10. Pensions and fertility: back to the roots - The introduction of Bismarck's pension scheme and the European fertility decline By Fenge, Robert; Scheubel, Beatrice
  11. Polanyi's Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth By David Autor
  12. History of the Farm Credit Fellows Program By LaDue, Eddy
  13. Economic Growth By David de la CROIX
  14. Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker By Heckman, James J.
  15. Revisiting the Historical Green Revolution: Impacts on Global Food Security By Baldos, Uris Lantz C.; Hertel, Thomas
  16. Soft budget constraints and regional industrial policy: Reinterpreting the rise and fall of De Lorean By Brownlow, Graham
  17. Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890-1930 By Douglas A. Irwin
  18. Narrative and deliberative instauration: The use of narrative as process and artefact in the social construction of institutions By William James Fear; Ricardo Azambuja
  19. Educational Attainment in the OECD, 1960-2010 By Angel De la Fuente; Rafael Domenech Vilarino
  20. Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America, 1950-2007 By Ohanian, Lee E.; Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina; Wright, Mark L. J.
  21. Does culture matter for development ? By Lopez-Claros, Augusto; Perotti, Valeria
  22. Some Lessons from Korea's Industrialization Strategy and Experience By Sta. Romana, Leonardo L.
  23. Micro Data and Macro Technology By Ezra Oberfield; Devesh Raval
  24. Endogenous Borrowing Constraints and Stagnation in Latin America By Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina
  25. School Size Policies: A Literature Review By Macarena Ares Abalde
  26. How Nokia failed to nail the Smartphone market By Bouwman, Harry; Carlsson, Christer; Carlsson, Joanna; Nikou, Shahrokh; Sell, Anna; Walden, Pirkko

  1. By: Vegard Skirbekk; Marcin Stonawski; Guido Alfani
    Abstract: During the demographic transition that in Europe tended to take place from the early 19th to the end of the 20th century, the population in European countries and its overseas offshoots increased by a factor of five or less, which is low compared to the increase now taking place in most other regions of the world. This study provides simulations showing what global and regional population sizes would be if the rest of the world experienced similar population growth patterns as were observed in Europe. European culture distinguished itself through choices that led to the European marriage pattern, characterized by late marriage, significant shares not marrying, low levels of extramarital childbearing, and comparatively low fertility. One important consequence was the relatively low population growth characterizing the cultures, religions, and ethno-linguistic groups where the European marriage pattern was dominant.
    Keywords: Demographic transition; demographic simulations; European marriage pattern; Europe; fertility; transition multiplier; nineteenth century; twentieth century; historical demography
    Date: 2014–11
  2. By: Sebastian Edwards
    Abstract: In this paper I discuss the effectiveness of foreign aid from a historical perspective. I show that foreign aid is a relatively new concept in economics, and I emphasize the role of exchange rate policies in the foreign aid controversies of the 1970s through 1990s. I show that in the early 1980s there were major changes in views regarding aid and agriculture. I emphasize the role of “ownership” of aid programs by the recipient countries as a way of increasing effectiveness. I argue that there is little hope of making progress in these debates if the economics profession continues to rely, almost exclusively, on cross section regressions. In order to move forward, these analyses need to be supplemented by in depth case studies that follow a country’s history for many decades.
    JEL: B20 F31 O10 O13 O19 O40 O43
    Date: 2014–11
  3. By: Galor, Oded (Brown University); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: This research explores the origins of the distribution of time preference across regions. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically, that geographical variations in natural land productivity and their impact on the return to agricultural investment have had a persistent effect on the distribution of long-term orientation across societies. In particular, exploiting a natural experiment associated with the expansion of suitable crops for cultivation in the course of the Columbian Exchange, the research establishes that agro-climatic characteristics in the pre-industrial era that were conducive to higher return to agricultural investment, triggered selection and learning processes that had a persistent positive effect on the prevalence of long-term orientation in the contemporary era.
    Keywords: time preference, delayed gratification, economic growth, culture, agriculture, economic development, evolution
    JEL: O1 O4 Z1
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: Òscar Jordà; Moritz Schularick; Alan M. Taylor
    Abstract: This paper unveils a new resource for macroeconomic research: a long-run dataset covering disaggregated bank credit for 17 advanced economies since 1870. The new data show that the share of mortgages on banks' balance sheets doubled in the course of the 20th century, driven by a sharp rise of mortgage lending to households. Household debt to asset ratios have risen substantially in many countries. Financial stability risks have been increasingly linked to real estate lending booms which are typically followed by deeper recessions and slower recoveries. Housing finance has come to play a central role in the modern macroeconomy.
    JEL: C14 C38 C52 E32 E37 E44 E51 G01 G21 N10 N20
    Date: 2014–09
  5. By: Kris James Mitchener; Matthew Jaremski
    Abstract: We use a novel data set spanning 1820-1910 to examine the origins of bank supervision and assess factors leading to the creation of formal bank supervision across U.S. states. We show that it took more than a century for the widespread adoption of independent supervisory institutions tasked with maintaining the safety and soundness of banks. State legislatures initially pursued cheaper regulatory alternatives, such as double liability laws; however, banking distress at the state level as well as the structural shift from note-issuing to deposit-taking commercial banks and competition with national banks propelled policymakers to adopt costly and permanent supervisory institutions.
    JEL: E44 G28 N11
    Date: 2014–10
  6. By: Donada, Carole (ESSEC Business School); Nogatchewsky, Gwenaëlle (Université Paris-Dauphine); Pezet, Anne (HEC Montréal)
    Abstract: Our analysis explores how a key managerial competence, the supplier relations dynamic capability, was progressively developed and implemented by Renault over a quarter of a century. As our historical approach will demonstrate, this construction process followed three main periods, each of which was characterized by specific external and internal circumstances that constitute turning points and triggers in the organization's transformation decision process. Most importantly, we will argue that this case brings to light that three phases are necessary for the supplier relations dynamic capability to fully develop: hybridization, combination and saturation, which open new perspectives on the construction process of dynamic capabilities in general.
    Keywords: Supplier relations; Automobile Industry; Renault; Construction process; Managerial competence; Strategic management
    JEL: L62 M10
    Date: 2014–09
  7. By: Carola Frydman; Eric Hilt
    Abstract: We use the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to study the effect of bankers on corporate boards in facilitating access to external finance. In the early twentieth century, securities underwriters commonly held directorships with American corporations; this was especially true for railroads, which were the largest enterprises of the era. Section 10 of the Clayton Act prohibited investment bankers from serving on the boards of railroads for which they underwrote securities. Following the implementation of Section 10 in 1921, we find that railroads that had maintained strong affiliations with their underwriters saw declines in their valuations, investment rates and leverage ratios, and increases in their costs of external funds. We perform falsification tests using data for industrial corporations, which were not subject to the prohibitions of Section 10, and find no differential effect of relationships with underwriters on these firms following 1921. Our results are consistent with the predictions of a simple model of underwriters on corporate boards acting as delegated monitors. Our findings also highlight the potential risks of unintended consequences from financial regulations.
    JEL: N11 N12 N21 N22 N41 N42 N71 N72
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Duncan Foley (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Recent claims, particularly in Paul Krugman’s column and blog, on the superiority of the Hicks-Modigliani version of Keynesian economics calls for a re-thinking of the issues raised in the early controversies over what Joan Robinson called ”bastard Keynesianism”. ”Good, old-fashioned, Keynesian economics” (GOKE) substitutes the general and unmotivated assumption of downward money wage rigidity for the detailed examination of the varied social coordination problems that characterize modern capitalist economies. This underrates Keynes’ role as a precursor of modern information economics, and risks losing significant policy insights. The political economy background of the New Classical counter-revolution in economic theory, stemming from the unravelling of the ”capital-labor accord” of the SecondWorldWar, provides some important lessons for the development of a macroeconomic analysis that is relevant to the real problems of modern capitalist economies.
    Keywords: Keynes, macroeconomics, sticky wages, information economics, multiple equilibria
    JEL: B22 D83 E41
    Date: 2014–03
  9. By: Paolo DI Martino; Michelangelo Vasta
    Abstract: This paper analyses the structure of Italian capitalism during the post-WWII economic miracle by focusing on the governance and management of small and medium firms. Using innovative sources, the paper shows that poorly conceived and/or enforced laws and legislation created incentive for business owners to be stockholders rather than stakeholders of their firms. This attitude emerges in two areas. Firstly, Italian business owners adopted structures of governance aimed only at protecting insiders, often at the expense of firms’ development. Secondly, in Italy business consultants had a unique and wide role in the management of firms, and acted to protect the benefits of insiders rather than the interests of the company. These two issues also contribute to explain the well-known problem of the dwarfism of Italian firms and the scarce capacity to innovate.
    JEL: N44 K22 L25
    Date: 2014–06
  10. By: Fenge, Robert; Scheubel, Beatrice
    Abstract: Fertility has long been declining in industrialised countries and the existence of public pension systems is considered as one of the causes. This paper provides detailed evidence based on historical data on the mechanism by which a public pension system depresses fertility. Our theoretical framework highlights that the effect of a public pension system on fertility works via the impact of contributions in such a system on disposable income as well as via the impact on future disposable income that is related to the internal rate of return of the pension system. Drawing on a unique historical data set which allows us to measure these variables at a jurisdictional level for a time when comprehensive social security was introduced, we estimate the effects predicted by the model. We find that beyond the traditional determinants of the first demographic transition, a lower internal rate of return of the pension system is associated with a higher birth rate. This result is robust to including the traditional determinants of the first demographic transition as controls as well as to other policy changes at the time. JEL Classification: C21, H31, H53, H55, J13, J18, J26, N33
    Keywords: fertility, first demographic transition, historical data, public pension, social security hypothesis, transition theory
    Date: 2014–09
  11. By: David Autor
    Abstract: In 1966, the philosopher Michael Polanyi observed, "We can know more than we can tell... The skill of a driver cannot be replaced by a thorough schooling in the theory of the motorcar; the knowledge I have of my own body differs altogether from the knowledge of its physiology." Polanyi's observation largely predates the computer era, but the paradox he identified--that our tacit knowledge of how the world works often exceeds our explicit understanding--foretells much of the history of computerization over the past five decades. This paper offers a conceptual and empirical overview of this evolution. I begin by sketching the historical thinking about machine displacement of human labor, and then consider the contemporary incarnation of this displacement--labor market polarization, meaning the simultaneous growth of high-education, high-wage and low-education, low-wages jobs--a manifestation of Polanyi's paradox. I discuss both the explanatory power of the polarization phenomenon and some key puzzles that confront it. I then reflect on how recent advances in artificial intelligence and robotics should shape our thinking about the likely trajectory of occupational change and employment growth. A key observation of the paper is that journalists and expert commentators overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities. The challenges to substituting machines for workers in tasks requiring adaptability, common sense, and creativity remain immense. Contemporary computer science seeks to overcome Polanyi's paradox by building machines that learn from human examples, thus inferring the rules that we tacitly apply but do not explicitly understand.
    JEL: J23 J24 J31 O3
    Date: 2014–09
  12. By: LaDue, Eddy
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance,
    Date: 2013–02–08
  13. By: David de la CROIX (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Abstract: The first challenge for economic growth theory is to understand the transition from stagnation to growth at the time of the Industrial Revolution and in particular to identify the main factor(s) that triggered the take-off. Doing so also helps to understand why there are poor and rich countries today, and whether the poorest ones will ultimately catch-up. This chapter reviews the main theories of growth, including the Malthus model (useful to understand stagnation), the neo-classical model where technical progress is the engine of growth, the endogenous growth model where growth is self-sustained and policy is of particular importance for the long-run, and unified growth theory, providing the big picture and linking the growth take-off to the demographic transition.
    Keywords: Stagnation, Capital, Fertility, Mortality, Education, Human Capital, Convergence, Poverty trap, Technical Progress, Decline, Inequality
    JEL: O40
    Date: 2014–10–31
  14. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: Gary Becker's classic study, A Theory of the Allocation of Time, laid the analytical foundations for the study of household production and the allocation of time within the household. The analytical framework of household production theory developed in this paper remained a pillar of his later work on the economics of the family and the economics of nonmarket activities more generally. Becker provided a formal model of households producing outputs like food, children, and housing that bundled goods and time. Becker's great contribution was to apply the model to interpret a broad array of empirical phenomena. Becker's framework allowed for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of consumer choice, and interpretation of income and substitution effects. Its continuing relevance in empirical economics is a testimony to its power.
    Keywords: household production, economics of the family, empirical economics
    JEL: B31 D13 J24
    Date: 2014–08
  15. By: Baldos, Uris Lantz C.; Hertel, Thomas
    Abstract: Poster Presentation for the 2014 AAEA Annual Meetings
    Keywords: Food Security, Green Revolution, Africa, Malnutrition, Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty, Production Economics,
    Date: 2014
  16. By: Brownlow, Graham
    Abstract: The rise and fall of De Lorean Motor Cars Limited (DMCL) has been traditionally interpreted as the result either of John De Lorean´s psychological flaws or as confirming the supposedly inherent weaknesses in activist industrial policy. However, when the episode is examined in more detail, neither of these interpretations is compelling. This paper´s reinterpretation draws on a range of archival evidence, much of it previously unreleased. The concept of Soft Budget Constraints (SBCs), as pioneered by Kornai, is applied to this evidence. The roles of both government and market failure and the contents of the original contractual agreement are highlighted. The soft budgets promoted by the agreement were in turn traceable to the institutional environment under which industrial policy operated in Northern Ireland. This institutional environment had itself been distorted by the Troubles and the fears policymakers had that a cumulative causation situation existed. Kornai´s framework helps us piece all the evidence together.
    Keywords: soft budget constraints,institutions,industrial policy,violence,Northern Ireland
    JEL: N84 N94 O25
    Date: 2014
  17. By: Douglas A. Irwin
    Abstract: Direct empirical evidence on whether domestic consumers or foreign exporters bear the burden of a country's import duties is scarce. This paper examines the incidence of U.S. sugar duties using a unique set of high-frequency (weekly, and sometimes daily) data on the landed and the duty-inclusive price of raw sugar in New York City from 1890 to 1930, a time when the United States consumed more than 20 percent of world sugar production and was therefore plausibly a "large" country. The results reveal a striking asymmetry: a tariff reduction is immediately passed through to consumer prices with no impact on the import price, whereas about 40 percent of a tariff increase is passed through to consumer prices and 60 percent borne by foreign exporters. The apparent explanation for the asymmetric response is the asymmetric response of demand: imports collapse upon a tariff increase, but do not surge after a tariff reduction.
    JEL: F13 F14 N11 N12
    Date: 2014–10
  18. By: William James Fear (Department of Organizational Psychology - Birkbeck College University of London); Ricardo Azambuja (MC - Management et Comportement - Grenoble École de Management (GEM))
    Abstract: Patient Safety is a global institution in the field largely assumed to have emerged following the publication of To Err Is Human by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. In this paper we demonstrate that Patient Safety has been constructed as an institution separately in the practice of anaesthesia since 1954 and in hospitalised care since 1964. The publication of To Err was, in fact, only one of a number of later field configuring events. We use Bruner's (1991) theory of narrative to frame the institution building process which we term deliberative instauration in recognition of the historic literature on the subject. We further link the process of institution building to Vygotsky's theory of social mediation and the use of artefacts in relation to the object of intended action. We conclude that a narrative can be understood as both an artefact and a process used in the social construction of institutions by professional psychological collectives (in this case physicians).
    Keywords: Institution; Artefact; Narrative; Patient Safety; Healthcare
    Date: 2014
  19. By: Angel De la Fuente; Rafael Domenech Vilarino
    Abstract: This paper describes the construction of series on the educational attainment of the adult population for a sample of 22 OECD countries covering the period 1960-2010. These series are then compared with (the OECD subsample of) the latest available version of other cross-country data sets on average years of schooling that are commonly used in the literature. Finally, statistical measures of the information content of the different series are constructed using the procedure developed by Krueger and Lindhal (K&L, 2001) and de la Fuente and Domenech (D&D, 2006). The exercise implies that there are important differences in quality across data sets and suggests that successive revisions have succeeded in increasing their signal to noise ratios.
    Keywords: Developed Economies, Research, Working Paper
    JEL: O40 I20 O30 C19
    Date: 2014–11
  20. By: Ohanian, Lee E. (Stanford University); Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis); Wright, Mark L. J. (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
    Abstract: Theory predicts that capital should flow to countries where economic growth and the return to capital is highest. However, in the post-World War II period, per-capita GDP grew almost three times faster in East Asia than in Latin America, yet capital flowed in greater quantities into Latin America. In this paper we propose a 3-country 2-sector growth model, augmented by “wedges” to quantify and evaluate the importance of international capital market imperfections versus domestic imperfections in explaining this anomalous behavior of capital flows. We find that during the 1950’s capital controls where important, but domestic conditions dominate. And contrary to what has been thought, after 1960 capital controls in Asia encouraged borrowing.
    Keywords: Capital Flows; Return to Capital; East Asia; Latin America.
    JEL: F41 F42 F43 F44
    Date: 2013–11–25
  21. By: Lopez-Claros, Augusto; Perotti, Valeria
    Abstract: Economists have either avoided or struggled with the concept of culture and its role in economic development. Although a few theoretical works -- and even fewer empirical studies -- have appeared in the past decades, this paper tries to build on a multidisciplinary approach to review the evidence on whether and how culture matters for development. First, the paper reviews available definitions of culture and illustrates ways in which culture can change and create favorable conditions for economic development. Second, the paper discusses the challenges of separating the effect of culture from other drivers of human behavior such as incentives, the availability of information, or climate. Finally, the paper argues that globalization has led to the emergence of a set of progressive values that are common cultural traits of all developed economies.
    Keywords: Cultural Policy,Cultural Heritage&Preservation,Environmental Economics&Policies,Anthropology,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2014–11–01
  22. By: Sta. Romana, Leonardo L.
    Abstract: We look at Korea's industrialization strategy and experience from the 1960s to the mid-1990s. Three elements of the Korean industrial development and structural change are discussed: 1) its outward orientation and export push, 2) its climb up the ladder of comparative advantage, and 3) its economic management of the industrialization effort. Finally, we reflect on the lessons from the Korean experience.
    Keywords: South Korea,Industrialization,East Asia,Economic Planning,Economic Growth,Japanese Economic Model
    JEL: F14 L52 N65 O14
    Date: 2014–04–30
  23. By: Ezra Oberfield; Devesh Raval
    Abstract: We develop a framework to estimate the aggregate capital-labor elasticity of substitution by aggregating the actions of individual plants, and use it to assess the decline in labor's share of income in the US manufacturing sector. The aggregate elasticity reflects substitution within plants and reallocation across plants; the extent of heterogeneity in capital intensities determines their relative importance. We use micro data on the cross-section of plants to build up to the aggregate elasticity at a point in time. Our approach places no assumptions on the evolution of technology, so we can separately identify shifts in technology and changes in response to factor prices. We find that the aggregate elasticity for the US manufacturing sector has been stable since 1970 at about 0.7. Mechanisms that work solely through factor prices cannot account for the labor share's decline. Finally, the aggregate elasticity is substantially higher in less-developed countries.
    JEL: E10 E23 E25
    Date: 2014–09
  24. By: Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)
    Abstract: Latin America has had striking changes in economic performance over time. Following the recession and debt crises of the early 1980’s, consumption declined for about ten years and consumption per-capita in the year 2004 was roughly the same as it was in 1980. This paper studies consumption stagnation in Latin America using a small open economy real business cycle model with endogenous borrowing limits, capitalistic production and domestic productivity and international interest rate shocks. I find that the model does an excellent job matching the observed behavior of per-capita consumption, and that the interaction of both productivity and international interest rate shocks with the borrowing limit is key.
    Keywords: Limited Commitment; per-capita consumption; total factor productivity; interest rate.
    JEL: C61 E21 F41 F43
    Date: 2013–02–15
  25. By: Macarena Ares Abalde
    Abstract: Recent demographic, economic and political trends have placed the issue of school size at the heart of school effectiveness and efficiency discussions. The subject of school size is particularly salient in remote and rural areas where the viability of small schools has been questioned. In spite of the relevance of school size policies, the literature on this issue is quite fragmented with few studies taking a comprehensive view on the implications of school size policies. This literature review attempts to bridge different strands of relevant research and describes existing country practices in order to provide a broader picture of the benefits and costs associated with different school sizes. The paper describes the different trends that have affected school enrolment and how different countries have managed school size policies, with a particular focus on school consolidation. It discusses the consequences of school consolidation and the alternatives to consolidation when schools are facing declining enrolment. It also reviews the different mechanisms through which school size affects the quality and efficiency of schools, and the existing empirical evidence on these effects.<BR>Les récentes évolutions démographiques, économiques et politiques ont placé la question de la taille des écoles au centre du débat sur l’efficacité et l’efficience du système éducatif. Le sujet de la taille des écoles est particulièrement important dans les régions isolées et rurales où la viabilité des petites écoles est mise en cause. Malgré l’importance des mesures visant à réguler la taille des écoles, la littérature sur ce sujet reste divisée et peu d’études présentent une vue d’ensemble de ces politiques et de leurs implications. Cette revue de littérature vise à rapprocher les différents courants de la recherche sur ce sujet et à examiner les pratiques existantes afin de présenter une vue exhaustive des coûts et bénéfices qu’impliquent différentes tailles d’écoles. Ce papier décrit les facteurs sous-tendant l’évolution des inscriptions ainsi que les politiques visant à réguler la taille des écoles menées dans différents pays. Il analyse les conséquences des politiques de consolidation d’écoles et des options alternatives à la consolidation lorsque les inscriptions sont en baisse. Il examine également les résultats empiriques relatifs à l’impact de la taille sur la qualité et l’efficience des écoles.
    Date: 2014–11–03
  26. By: Bouwman, Harry; Carlsson, Christer; Carlsson, Joanna; Nikou, Shahrokh; Sell, Anna; Walden, Pirkko
    Abstract: In this paper we will discuss Nokia's struggle to find a sustainable approach to the Smartphone market. The findings are based on (i) a review of Nokia's history, and specifically on how Nokia dealt with introducing new, more or less smart handsets, (ii) on interviews with managers from Nokia and (iii) on data collected on mobile phone usage in 2003 -2011 in Finland. We contribute to insights on how a company with an active innovation policy, product launch and market segmentation strategy failed to maintain its dominance on the mobile handset market.
    Date: 2014

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