nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2015‒08‒07
seventeen papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Economic Forces Affecting Louisiana Agriculture Production through Space and Time By Westra, John V.; Niu, Huizhen; Fannin, J. Matthew
  2. Theories about the Commencement of Agriculture in Prehistoric Societies: A Critical Evaluation By Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
  3. Evaluating the Historical Factors Influencing U.S. Agricultural Policy By Farnsworth, Derek; Moss, Charles B.
  4. The Neolithic Revolution and Human Societies: Diverse Origins and Development Paths By Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
  5. Desenvolvimentismo: a construção do conceito By Pedro Cezar Dutra Fonseca
  6. "Marx's Theory of Money and 21st-century Macrodynamics" By Tai Young-Taft
  7. The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV By Durante, Ruben; Pinotti, Paolo; Tesei, Andrea
  8. No Escape from Economic Success: The Case of Hungarian Jewry (1850-1900). By Ternyik, Stephen I.
  9. Do Economic Models Have to be Realistic?: A Methodological Criticism of Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality By Makovi, Michael
  10. The Role of Palatial Economic Organization in Creating Wealth in Minoan and Mycenaean States By Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
  11. The Collapse of Some Ancient Societies Due to Unsustainable Mining Development (A Draft) By Tisdell, Clem; Svizzero, Serge
  12. Pricing Genius: The Market Evaluation of Innovation By David Galenson; Simone Lenzu
  13. Market Design for New Leaders By Menezes, Flavio
  14. Labor migration, poverty and the long-term development impact of international migration By Kusunose, Yoko; Rignall, Karen
  15. My book "Economic Development in the Context of China": Its Origins plus Experiences in China in 1989 and their Sequel By Tisdell, Clem
  16. Railroad Concentration, Market Shares, and Rates By Prater, Marvin; Sparger, Adam; O'Neil, Daniel Jr.
  17. Do Right to Work Laws Worsen Income Inequality? Evidence from the Last Five Decades By Munasib, Abdul; Jordan, Jeffrey L.; Mathur, Aparna; Roy, Devesh

  1. By: Westra, John V.; Niu, Huizhen; Fannin, J. Matthew
    Abstract: Introduction During the past two decades, economic forces have affected the distribution and intensity of crop production in Louisiana. Over time, rising costs of production inputs, primarily fuel, fertilizer and chemical costs, have altered the acreage planted and harvested to specific crops across parishes. This, when combined with increase or decreases in crop prices, at planting and harvesting, have affected the mix of crops producers eventually harvest every year. We develop a GIS-based “ring map” that can interpret the complex crop changing over 20 year period (from 1995 to 2014). The Parish (county) map of Louisiana will show the most recent year crop data and the surrounded segmented circular rings that are parish location – specific to display a time series crop data. We use four crops – rice, soybeans, corn and cotton, as examples to demonstrate how economic forces influence producers’ decisions about crop mix. Given that these crops often are substitutes for one another in production, they present an opportunity to analyze and demonstrate the interaction of economic forces on land use through time. We present ring maps to help illustrate how different economic forces interact to determine the land use and production associated with these four crops over two decades. In addition to economic forces, natural forces, specifically Hurricanes affected production of these four commodities. Our poster presentation highlights the interaction of natural and economic forces with producers to affect land use decisions and the distribution of production across time and parishes in Louisiana. Cotton Cultivation of cotton began around 1729 in Louisiana; mainly for home spinning and weaving. It was not until Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793 that cotton was produced in Louisiana as a cash crop. Within a century, cotton was grown on 48 million acres nationally and was the only major cash crop in the South. As recently as 10 years ago, cotton production occurred on nearly one million acres in Louisiana. Recently, damage from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, increased competition from high corn prices and relatively weak cotton prices, caused acreage harvested for cotton to decline dramatically – to 250,000 the past few years. Corn Cultivation of corn in Louisiana occurred throughout its history and traditionally occurs in rotation with cotton, wheat or soybeans in Delta parishes and central Louisiana. With higher-yielding improved varieties, and the significant increase in corn prices to record levels in the past few years, acreage planted to corn has more than doubled to 600,000 acres harvested statewide. Production is intensifying and expanding into new parishes as well. Total value of production statewide has tripled to $350 million annually. Rice Rice production has taken place in Louisiana since its earliest days as a Spanish colony. However, it wasn’t until introduction of improved varieties from Japan at the end of the 19th century that significant acreage harvested from rice occurred. Rice traditionally is produced in the coastal parishes and Delta parishes. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused significant damage to coastal fields with salt water intrusion five years ago and rice acreage was cut by one-third. After several years, rice production has rebounded to traditional levels of 500,000 acres annually and total value of production has increase up to $400 million annually. Soybeans Soybean production is a relatively recent crop in Louisiana – being introduced from Asia in the early 20th century. Historically, yields have been low and soybeans were grown primarily in rotation with rice, cotton or wheat. With relatively low cost for growing soybeans, producers readily adopted them to their farming operations and harvest one million acres annually. Recent increases in price have caused acreage to increase and total value of the soybean crop to double ($455 million last year).
    Keywords: Louisiana, cotton, corn, rice, soybeans, ring map, Crop Production/Industries, Land Economics/Use, Production Economics, Q10, Q15,
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
    Abstract: The commencement of agriculture in the Holocene era is usually seen as heralding the beginning of a chain of events that eventually resulted in the Industrial Revolution and in modern economic development. The purpose of this paper is to outline and critically review theories about why and how agriculture first began. It also classifies these theories according to whether they are based on agriculture’s development as a response to food deprivation, to a food surplus, or neither of these factors. Because agriculture began independently in several different geographical centres, it seems unlikely that the switch of early societies from hunting and gathering to agriculture was the result of the same cause in all of these locations. Moreover, the paper provides some new suggestions as to why hunters and gatherers were motivated to commence or increase their dependence on agriculture in some locations. Views about the role of natural resources and institutions in the development of agriculture are also discussed.
    Keywords: Agricultural commencement, Domestication, Institutions, Natural endowments, Neolithic transition., Community/Rural/Urban Development, Crop Production/Industries, Land Economics/Use, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, O1, N00, P00, P52, Z13.,
    Date: 2014–08–30
  3. By: Farnsworth, Derek; Moss, Charles B.
    Keywords: Agricultural policy, economic history, Agricultural and Food Policy, Political Economy,
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
    Abstract: Many economists have recently tried to explain the diverse levels of economic development of countries by studying their trajectories during past eras and in recent history. Special attention has been given to the influences on contemporary societies of relevant developments in prehistory and more particularly, those arising from the Neolithic revolution, i.e. the transition from foraging to farming. This transition from simple to complex hunting and gathering and then to farming is a sequence couched in social evolutionary terms. It suggests a pattern of progressive development resulting in increasing cultural complexity. In this evolutionary scheme, simple hunter-gatherers develop into complex hunters and collectors, whose critical economic decisions are a consequence of climatic changes that inevitably lead them to irreversibly adopt agriculture. Although this pattern of development is widely accepted, we challenge it. Studies of past and recent hunting and gathering societies show an incredible diversity of human social organization through time. Similarly, the various centers where agriculture started during the Neolithic period display great diversity in terms of their genesis, nature and consequences. The nature of the spread of agriculture from the Levant to Europe displays diversity. Demic diffusion and cultural diffusion were both present, and generated a variety of diffusion processes. This diversity of human societies is not easily accounted for by social evolutionary processes; indeed, people’s understanding of the world directly influences the economic decisions they make. The development of agriculture eventually generated an economic surplus. This (combined with increasing social and economic inequalities), another feature of the Neolithic revolution, led to economic growth and therefore to the long-term dominance of agropastoralists societies. Inequality (the appropriation by dominant classes of the economic surplus generated by agropastoralism and by stemming economic developments) was therefore a necessary early condition for increasing the chances of the survival and development of these societies; otherwise they would all have been caught in the Malthusian trap.
    Keywords: hunter-gatherers, agriculture, Neolithic transition, demic diffusion, imitation, economic surplus, social and economic inequalities, social evolutionary theory., Community/Rural/Urban Development, Crop Production/Industries, Land Economics/Use, N00, N5, O10, Q10,
    Date: 2014–04
  5. By: Pedro Cezar Dutra Fonseca
    Abstract: Este trabalho tem por objetivo delimitar o conceito de desenvolvimentismo desde a realidade histórica latino-americana. Observa-se que o emprego do termo desenvolvimentismo qualifica distintos fenômenos, do passado e do presente, sem que haja um esforço na literatura em delimitá-lo. Deste modo, a polissemia do conceito se converte ambiguidade quanto ao espectro denotativo por ele coberto. Entende-se que o conceito corresponde a um fenômeno tanto da realidade histórica das políticas econômicas, quanto da ideia no discurso político. Tomando o referencial metodológico sobre conceitos clássicos de Giovanni Sartori, busca-se delimitar o conjunto de atributos que categorizam o conceito de desenvolvimentismo a partir da sua evolução no pensamento econômico e da experiência histórica da América Latina This paper aims to formulate a concept of developmentalism from the Latin American historical reality. It’s observed that the term qualifies manifold phenomena, in the past and in the present, without efforts on its delimitation. Thus, the concepts polysemy becomes ambiguity about its denotative spectrum. The concept is perceived as corresponding both to a range of historical phenomena of economic policy and to ideological phenomenon on political discourse. Acknowledging Giovanni Sartori’s methodological framework on classical concepts, the work intends to delimitate a core set of categorizing attributes of developmeantalism based on the evolution of the economic thought about the term and the historical experience of Latin America.
    Date: 2015–07
  6. By: Tai Young-Taft
    Abstract: Marx's theory of money is critiqued relative to the advent of fiat and electronic currencies and the development of financial markets. Specific topics of concern include (1) today's identity of the money commodity, (2) possible heterogeneity of the money commodity, (3) the categories of land and rent as they pertain to the financial economy, (4) valuation of derivative securities, and (5) strategies for modeling, predicting, and controlling production and exchange of the money commodity and their interface with the real economy.
    Keywords: Macroeconomics; Marx's Theory of Money; Monetary Theory; Transformation Problem
    JEL: B51 E11 G13
    Date: 2015–07
  7. By: Durante, Ruben; Pinotti, Paolo; Tesei, Andrea
    Abstract: We investigate the political impact of entertainment television in Italy over the past thirty years by exploiting the staggered introduction of Silvio Berlusconi's commercial TV network, Mediaset, in the early 1980s. We find that individuals in municipalities that had access to Mediaset prior to 1985 - when the network only featured light entertainment programs - were significantly more likely to vote for Berlusconi's party in 1994, when he first ran for office. This effect persists for almost two decades and five elections, and is especially pronounced for heavy TV viewers, namely the very young and the old. We relate the extreme persistence of the effect to the relative incidence of these age groups in the voting population, and explore different mechanisms through which early exposure to entertainment content may have influenced their political attitudes.
    Keywords: entertainment; Italy; political participation; television; voting
    JEL: D72 L82 Z13
    Date: 2015–07
  8. By: Ternyik, Stephen I.
    Abstract: The socio-economic case of Hungarian Jewry is examined, with special temporal reference to the period of 1850-1900.Statistical and economic data of Austro-Hungary point to the key role of landownership and rent collection on Hungarian territory, being the main cause for a failed modernization and emancipation, despite all human and technical progress.
    Keywords: rent; land ownership; human emancipation; Hungarian Jewry
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2015–07
  9. By: Makovi, Michael
    Abstract: In the Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1754) sketches a hypothetical illegitimate social contract to explain the origin of socioeconomic inequality. Rousseau himself notes that his illegitimate social contract is not intended to be historically accurate. But this casts doubt on the methodological validity of his argument. According to Ronald Coase's (1981) criticism of Milton Friedman (1953) statements on the methodology of positive economics, theoretical models, to be valid, must possess a certain degree of realism which Rousseau's does not. This same criticism applies to Carole Pateman's adaptation of Rousseau in her Sexual Contract (1988).
    Keywords: Rousseau, Coase, Pateman, Sexual Contract, methodology, inequality
    JEL: B31 B41 I3
    Date: 2015–07
  10. By: Svizzero, Serge; Tisdell, Clem
    Abstract: During the Late Bronze Age, Aegean societies (Minoan and Mycenaean) exhibited strong economic development. This resulted from the implementation by the elite of a centralized and hierarchical administrative and social system in order to manage most economic activities. In these palatial economies, the elite organized the extraction of the surplus, therefore avoiding the Malthusian trap. They also organized the division of labor and the specialization in production and the distribution of the collected surplus by means of staple and wealth finance systems, the latter being based on the production of luxury items controlled by the palace. Trade was also encouraged in order to strengthen palatial power.
    Keywords: Economic surplus, Exclusive institution, Malthus’ law, Mycenaean and Minoan economies, Staple and wealth finance systems, Palatial economies., Community/Rural/Urban Development, Land Economics/Use, N00, O1, P41,
    Date: 2015–06
  11. By: Tisdell, Clem; Svizzero, Serge
    Abstract: The literature explaining social collapse mainly focuses on factors such as wars, climate change or disease, as exemplified by numerous examples of collapses which have occurred during the Late Bronze Age in the Near East and in the South-eastern Mediterranean region. This paper aims at demonstrating that collapse can also have economic reasons. Indeed, collapse may be the outcome of an economic growth process which is inherently unsustainable. More precisely, we claim that several ancient societies collapsed because the form of economic development which they relied on eventually proved to be unable to sustain their standard of living. It is believed that the Únĕtice societies – central European Early Bronze Age - were among those that collapsed for that reason. A simple model is presented to demonstrate that, in this agricultural economy, the introduction of bronze mining and metallurgy led to unsustainable development and its subsequent collapse.
    Keywords: unsustainable development, Bronze Age, elite, economic surplus, mining productivity., Community/Rural/Urban Development, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, N53, Q33, O13, E30,
    Date: 2015–04–27
  12. By: David Galenson (University of Chicago); Simone Lenzu (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: Economists have neglected a key issue for understanding and increasing technological change, in failing to study how talented individuals produce innovations. This paper takes a quantitative approach to this problem. Regression analysis of auction data from 1965-2015 reveals that the age-price profiles of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol – the two greatest painters born in the 20th century – closely resemble the age profiles of the two artists derived both from textbooks of art history and from retrospective exhibitions. The agreement of these sources confirms that the auction market assigns the highest prices to the most important art, and examination of the artists’ careers reveals that this art is the most important because it is the most innovative. These results lend strong support to our understanding of creativity at the individual level, with a sharp contrast between the extended experimental innovation of Pollock and the sudden conceptual innovation of Warhol.
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Menezes, Flavio
    Abstract: In this article we explore some of the theoretical developments over the last 40 years which led to the emergence of the field of market design. This new field has had a substantive impact on policy, especially after the highly successful auctions of the mobile telephony licences in the mid-1990s in the US. The auctions replaced an inefficient allocation system where licences were allocated to applicants via a lottery and subsequently sold for large windfalls. These auctions raised substantial amount of revenue for the US government and were adopted worldwide, including in Australia. First, I provide a brief history of market design in cases where monetary payments can be used as the basis to allocate goods and services. This history starts with the game theoretical foundations of non-cooperative behaviour – as typically the interests of different individuals are in conflict, for example, when buying or selling goods and services – and then moves on to mechanism design and auction theory and practice. Second, I will review a very large experiment in Brazil where markets were created to avoid electricity rationing in 2001. The choice of this example is not inconsequential. It is meant to illustrate that such an approach to public policy can be successful even in developing countries with weaker institutions. I will then provide some concluding comments.
    Keywords: Auction theory, game theory, market design, Public Economics, D47, C7, D44,
    Date: 2013–09
  14. By: Kusunose, Yoko; Rignall, Karen
    Abstract: We estimate the present-day effects on rural Moroccan households of past international migration--specifically, recruitment to work in the French mines sixty years--and its associated remittances and pensions. Using cluster analysis twice—once to categorize households as poor and non-poor in the early 1960s and again to categorize the directly-descended household in 2014—we identify the households that moved upward economically over the intervening period. Seemingly-unrelated probit estimation is then used to gauge the degree to which migration facilitated this process. We find that migration significantly increased the likelihood that the sending family's current-day members would presently be non-poor. Surprisingly, we also find that the simple act of applying to migrate also has a similar effect. For the poorest (in the pre-migration period) of households, recruitment for work could well have been exogenous. For these households, migration to work in the French mines is, by far, the strongest predictor of escaping poverty sixty years later.
    Keywords: migration, poverty, Morocco, International Development, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2015
  15. By: Tisdell, Clem
    Abstract: Outlines how as a result of a chance meeting with Professor Mao Yushi in Toronto, Canada in 1986 I was subsequently invited to visit China to give lectures at Nankai University in Tianjin (which I did in 1989). This visit was extended by my being awarded an Exchange Fellowship Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Humanities in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS). This enabled me to make further contact with Mao Yushi who was Professor of American Studies at that time. Presentations of papers and academic contacts were made at various centres of learning in Wuhan, Xian and Beijing. One of the results of my visit to China was the publication of my book Economic Development in the Context of China. This was put online in 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan. The nature and genesis of this book is outlined, together with my experiences in China in 1989 and the sequel to my visit. The sequel includes subsequent visits to The University of Queensland of several Chinese economists, including Mao Yushi, my involvement in several research projects focused on China, as well as several articles dealing with Chinese economic and environmental issues. Some biographical information about Mao Yushi and Clem Tisdell is also included in this article.
    Keywords: China, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Democracy Movement, economic development, economic systems, John Longworth, Nankai University, Taree High School, The University of Queensland, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession, B00, O10, P2,
    Date: 2013–08–20
  16. By: Prater, Marvin; Sparger, Adam; O'Neil, Daniel Jr.
    Abstract: Since the passage of the Staggers Act in 1980, many railroads have merged. The market share of Class I railroads has increased since then, while the number of Class I railroads has fallen to only seven. Through railroad mergers, rail-to-rail competition has been reduced, railroad market power has increased, and rail costs have fallen by over half in real terms. Over much of this period, most of these reduced costs were passed on to shippers as savings through lower rates. Since 2004, however, average rail rates per ton-mile for all commodities have climbed 36 percent, negating some of the savings over the period. Although some of these real rail rate increases have contributed to record rail profitability and capital investment, most of the rate increases are the result of increased railroad costs; real rail costs, adjusted for productivity, increased 29 percent during the same period. Although deregulation of railroads in 1980 produced more than 550 regional and local railroads throughout America, the 7 Class I railroads originated well over half the grain and oilseed shipments in 2011.
    Keywords: railroad, train, market share, deregulation, grain, rates, Agribusiness,
    Date: 2014–02
  17. By: Munasib, Abdul; Jordan, Jeffrey L.; Mathur, Aparna; Roy, Devesh
    Abstract: There is an ongoing debate about whether changes in labor regulations such as Right to Work (RTW) laws are contributing to the rising trend of income inequality in the U.S. We adopt Synthetic Control Method (SCM) for comparative case study to examine the impact of a state’s adoption of RTW law on its income inequality. We use a wide range of inequality measures for Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, states that enacted RTW between the 1960s and the 2000s. We find that RTW did not impact income inequality in these states. This result is underpinned by additional finding of a lack of impact of RTW on unionization and investment.
    Keywords: Right to Work, Synthetic Control, unionization, inequality, Consumer/Household Economics, Labor and Human Capital, Political Economy, Public Economics, J01, J08, J23, J38, J39, J51, L59,
    Date: 2015

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