nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2016‒02‒04
twenty-one papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. The One-Percent across Two Centuries: A Replication of Thomas Piketty’s Data on the Distribution of Wealth for the United States By Richard C. Sutch
  2. Hawtrey, Austerity, and the "Treasury View", 1918-25 By Clara Elisabetta Mattei
  3. The Accumulation, Inheritance, and Concentration of Wealth during the Gilded Age: An Exception to Thomas Piketty’s Analysis By Richard C. Sutch
  4. Localización geográfica del valor agregado agropecuario en Uruguay en el largo plazo (1908-2000). Cuantificación y hechos estilizados By Micaela Araujo; Pablo Castro; Henry Willebald
  5. Technical Change, Non-Tariff Barriers, and the Development of the Italian Locomotive Industry, 1850-1913 By Carlo Ciccarelli; Alessandro Nuvolari
  6. Econo- and socio- physics based remarks on the economical growth of the World By Rzoska Agata Angelika
  7. Schumpeter’s Assessment of Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations: Why He Got It Wrong By Andreas Ortmann; David Baranowski; Benoit Walraevens
  8. Fifty years of Cultural Economics. Exploring the roots in the history of economic thought By Luis Fernando Aguado; Luis Palma; Noemi Pulido
  9. Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation* By Sascha O. Becker; Steven Pfaff; Jared Rubin
  10. Not Beautiful, not Just, not Virtuous; 'And It Doesn't Deliver the Goods'. Capitalism and “Fear of Goods” in Keynes's Thought By Carabelli, Anna; Cedrini, mario
  11. World trade, 1800-1938: a new data-set By Giovanni Federico; Antonio Tena-Junguito
  12. The Myth of Self-Financing: The Trade-Offs Behind the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project By Bridget Fisher
  13. Different Behavioral Explanations of the Neolithic Transition from Foraging to Agriculture: A Review By Tisdell, Clem; Svizzero, Serge
  14. Northeast Asia's New ‘History Spiral’ By Amy King and Brendan Taylor
  15. Population Resettlement in War: Theory and Evidence from Soviet Archives By Yuri M. Zhukov
  16. Series enlazadas de PIB y otros agregados de Contabilidad Nacional para España (1955-2014) By Angel De la Fuente
  17. Urban-Suburban Migration in the United States, 1955-2000 By Todd K. Gardner
  18. Did the world settle its debts through the branches of multinational banks? Evidence from the 1930s By Laura Panza; David Merrett
  19. Consumer revolving credit and debt over the life cycle and business cycle By Fulford, Scott L.; Schuh, Scott
  20. ¿Campesinos unidos o divididos? La acción colectiva y la revolución social entre los yunteros durante la Segunda República en España (1931-1936) By Juan Carmona; James Simpson
  21. Financialisation of built environments:A literature review By Eric Clark; Henrik Gutzon Larsen; Anders Lund Hansen

  1. By: Richard C. Sutch (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)
    Abstract: This exercise reproduces and assesses the historical time-series on the top shares of the wealth distribution for the United States presented by Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty’s best-selling book has gained as much attention for its extensive presentation of detailed historical statistics on inequality as for its bold and provocative predictions about the continuing rise in inequality in the twenty-first century. Those predictions were derived and justified by reference to the historical data, so it is helpful to assess the robustness of the historical evidence presented. Here I examine only Piketty’s U.S. data for the period 1810 to 2010 for the top ten percent and the top one percent of the wealth distribution. I conclude that Piketty’s data for the wealth share of the top ten percent for the period 1870-1970 are unreliable. The values he reported are manufactured from the observations for the top one percent inflated by a constant 36 percentage points. Piketty’s data for the top one percent of the distribution for the nineteenth century (1810-1910) are also unreliable. They are based on a single mid-century observation that provides no guidance about the antebellum trend and only very tenuous information about trends in inequality during the Gilded Age. The values Piketty reported for the twentieth-century (1910-2010) are based on more solid ground, but have the disadvantage of muting the marked rise of inequality during the Roaring Twenties and the decline associated with the Great Depression. The reversal of the decline in inequality during the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent sharp rise in the 1980s is hidden by a fifteen-year straight-line interpolation. This neglect of the shorter-run changes is unfortunate because it makes it difficult to discern the impact of policy changes (income and estate tax rates) and shifts in the structure and performance of the economy (depression, inflation, executive compensation) on changes in wealth inequality.
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Clara Elisabetta Mattei
    Abstract: In Great Britain the seven years following WWI were marked by rigorous austerity policies. From 1918 to 1925 the main objectives were budget cuts and monetary deflation. Certainly, being the central department for financial policies, the British Treasury had decisive authority in setting such economic agenda. In particular, the official who had the greatest weight with chancellors of the Exchequer was the Controller of Finance, Basil P. Blackett (1917-1922), followed by Sir Otto Niemeyer (1922-1927). Their papers in the Treasury files reveal that the economist Ralph Hawtrey was the primary source of economic knowledge for Blackett and especially for Niemeyer. This work proves that Hawtrey's original economic theory provided solid theoretical justifications for the austerity policies. Hawtrian economics refined and strengthened the economic stance of the senior officials of the British Treasury. This study draws on Hawtrey's most important scientific works together with his press articles and copious Treasury papers to unravel the conceptual building blocks of Hawtrey's austerity doctrine. It emerges that his policy prescriptions ensued directly from his economic model. Hawtrey advocated monetary stabilization through the management of the bank rate, budgetary rigor, and rejection of public investment, all of which became widely established goals among other orthodox economic institutions, from the Bank of England to the League of Nations. This paper reveals that, in the early post WWI years, economic theory had clear operative force on policymaking.
    Keywords: Ralph Hawtrey, Austerity, Treasury View, Interwar Years, Deflation, Savings
    Date: 2016–01–29
  3. By: Richard C. Sutch (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)
    Abstract: Thomas Piketty predicts that “It is almost inevitable that inherited wealth will dominate wealth amassed from a lifetime’s labor by a wide margin, and the concentration of [wealth] will attain extremely high levels.†His forecast is based on an assumption that most bequests are motivated by an altruistic motive to accumulate assets to endow one’s own children. Piketty claims that a similar mechanism was operative in the U.S. during the Gilded Age (roughly 1870-1917). In this paper I make three claims. One: Piketty’s argument that the bequest motive for accumulating wealth dominates the retirement and precautionary motives inaccurately describes the lifecycle hypothesis of saving associated with Franco Modigliani. As a result of his misunderstanding Piketty inappropriately concludes that the bequest motive must logically dominate the dynamics of wealth accumulation. Two: I examine the one-percent sample of the manuscript returns from the U.S. Census of 1870 to estimate the distribution of wealth at an early date during the Gilded Age. Synthetic cohorts derived from the cross section suggest that family wealth holdings declined sharply after an age in the mid-fifties. The bulk of saving during the Gilded Age was generated by the middle class during the families’ peak-earning years. Three: A massive digital collection of wills and probate records assembled by, which has been available on line since September 4, 2015, should make it possible to trace the financial life histories of the very rich. I propose a research project that would focus on the wealthiest families included in the 1870 census sample. I present the results of my first attempt to use the archive to literally follow the money for a few members of this elite. My preliminary work suggests that many of the large fortunes of 1870 were the result of business success and luck rather than of inheritance. Many of the super-rich spent lavishly on consumption and philanthropy and thus dissipated much of their fortune before death (if they lived long enough). When some bequeathed a large sum it was typically the unintended consequence of dying at a significantly younger age than prudent lifecycle planning would have anticipated. I offer a tentative suggestion that an important motive for accumulating wealth in the Gilded Age was entrepreneurial combined with an effort to keep a family firm intact and in the firm control of its founder. At the time institutions that would make it easy to separate ownership from management were nonexistent or risky. The illiquidity of business assets might explain the failure on the part of some entrepreneurs to consume the bulk of their wealth before death. Typically, the businesses lived on intact after their owner-founder died. Businesses do not leave bequests.
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: Micaela Araujo (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Departamento de Economía); Pablo Castro (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Henry Willebald (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Consideration of history and territory as dimensions of economic development of countries and regions is a trait that is increasingly present in the analysis of long-term economic performance. The main objective of this paper is to estimate Uruguayan agricultural gross value added (VAB by its Spanish abbreviation) by region in the long run. Estimates of the agricultural VAB by Department (19 administrative units) are presented, covering a century of Uruguayan history, and the main stylized facts that account for the territorial location of agricultural and livestock production in the long run are described. The empirical strategy used in this paper is an indirect method that we call "Modified Geary-Stark". This method makes it possible to use indicators of physical productivity in different sector, item by item, assuming that price spreads between regions are marginal. Once long-run agricultural VAB are obtained, descriptive exercises allow us to find empirical regularities and sketch out some hypotheses about the evolution of the location of different agricultural activities in terms of productive structure and specialization.
    Keywords: regional economy, productive location, agriculture, Uruguay
    JEL: N5 N6 N9 R12
    Date: 2015–12
  5. By: Carlo Ciccarelli; Alessandro Nuvolari
    Abstract: This paper examines the dynamics of technical change in the Italian locomotive industry in the period 1850-1913. From an historical point of view, this industry presents a major point of interest: it was one of the few relatively sophisticated "high-tech" sectors in which Italy, a latecomer country, was able to set foot firmly before 1913. Using technical data on the performance of different vintages of locomotives, we construct a new industry-level index of technical change. Our reassessment reveals the critical role played by non-tariff barriers for the emergence and consolidation of national manufacturers in this field.
    Date: 2014–02–12
  6. By: Rzoska Agata Angelika
    Abstract: It has been shown that the long term evolution of the Gross Product of the World after World War II can be well portrayed by the exponential function with the crossover at the year 1973, cinsiding with the Oil Crisis onset. For the the Standard and Poor 500 index the single exponential behavior extends down to at least the mid of the nineteen century. It is notable that the detailed short-term insight focused on the last quarter of century revealed the emergence of the power like dependence. However, such dependences can be introduced only when taking into account the behavior at reference-baselines years. The possible relationship to the growth/death evolution of microorganisms is also discussed. The report proposes the new discussion of the past and nowadays time of the global economy. It recalls econonophysics and sociophysics as disciplines within which the effective parameterization of trends is possible. Finally, possible future trends are discussed.
    Date: 2016–01
  7. By: Andreas Ortmann (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW); David Baranowski (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW); Benoit Walraevens (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW)
    Abstract: In his History of Economic Analysis, Joseph Schumpeter (Schumpeter 1954a) dismissed Adam Smith’s Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Smith 1976) in a blunt and ad hominem manner. We argue that Schumpeter’s assessment resulted from his failure to appreciate the rhetorical structure of Smith’s masterpiece, a failure largely due to Schumpeter not having access to student notes of Smith’s lectures on rhetoric that surfaced only after Schumpeter’s death.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, rhetoric, rhetorical structure of The Wealth of Nations, Schumpeter , History of Economic Analysis
    JEL: B10 B12 C70 C72
    Date: 2015–12
  8. By: Luis Fernando Aguado; Luis Palma; Noemi Pulido (Faculty of Economics and Management, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to backtrack key elements from the economic thought which limited and then allowed the approach of the economy to the analysis of cultural goods and services. The contribution of this paper is double. On the one hand, we synthesize how the modeling of consume of cultural goods was embodied to economic analysis, with this aim we use a selective revision of the literature of prestigious economists on the economic thought history. On the other hand, we describe the elements which form the basis of cultural economics as a dynamic area of specialization, which be perfectly identified and with an intellectual prestige on the economy.
    Keywords: cultural goods; cultural economics; economic thought; leisure.
    JEL: Z11 B12 B13
    Date: 2016–01
  9. By: Sascha O. Becker (University of Warwick); Steven Pfaff (University of Washington); Jared Rubin (Chapman University)
    Abstract: The Protestant Reformation is one of the defining events of the last millennium. Nearly 500 years after the Reformation, its causes and consequences have seen a renewed interest in the social sciences. Research in economics, sociology, and political science increasingly uses detailed individual-level, city-level, and regional-level data to identify drivers of the adoption of the Reformation, its diffusion pattern, and its socioeconomic consequences. This survey takes stock of the research so far, tries to point out what we know and what we do not know, and which are the most promising areas for future research.
    Keywords: Protestant Reformation
    JEL: N33 Z12 R38 D85
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Carabelli, Anna; Cedrini, mario (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Offering a view of the other side of the liquidity-issue, the paper elaborates on the concept of “fear of goods” in Keynes’s thought. It therefore illustrates numerous evidences of “fear of goods” in his economics, and aims to show that the notion might be considered as playing a quite important role as organising concept, helping to establish connections between ideas that are apparently only weakly related. The article fosters an interpretation of the development of Keynes’s theoretical arguments and proposed policy instruments for both domestic and global economy, as reactions to the “fear of goods” of capitalism, which Keynes saw as an inborn propensity of monetary economies of production.
    Date: 2014–10
  11. By: Giovanni Federico (Universitá di Pisa); Antonio Tena-Junguito (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This paper presents our data-base on world trade from 1800 to 1938. We have collected or estimated series of imports and exports, at current and constant (1913) prices and at current and at constant (1913) borders, for 149 polities. After a short review of the available series, we describe the methods for the construction of the data-base. We then deal with the criteria for the inclusion of polities, the representativeness of our series, the main types of sources, the procedures of deflation and, when necessary, of adjustments to 1913 borders. We discuss the details of the estimation of our polity series in Appendix B. Following Feinstein and Thomas (2001), we assess the reliability of our polity estimates. In the last two sections we present our trade series at current and 1913 borders and compare them with other available series. All data are available in a World Trade 1800-1938 Appendix Excel File
    Keywords: World Trade, new series, 19th and 20th century
    JEL: F14 N10
    Date: 2016–01
  12. By: Bridget Fisher (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: In 2005, after three years of debate and public review, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council finalized a deal to finance an expansion of the Manhattan’s central business district from Midtown to the Hudson River. The redevelopment plan created the Hudson Yards Financing District, roughly bounded by West 43rd Street on the north, 8th Avenue to the east, West 28th Street to the south, and the Hudson River to the west. This area would be the recipient of $3 billion of bond revenue issued by the city through a city-owned local development corporation for the purposes of upgrading the area’s outdated infrastructure. These investments were promised to pay for themselves by attracting private development to the area.
    Keywords: Development, Urban, Redevelopment, New York City
    JEL: H30 E21 H2
    Date: 2015–10
  13. By: Tisdell, Clem; Svizzero, Serge
    Abstract: This article examines how well two parallel behavioral approaches, one in economics and the other in anthropology, explain the economic evolution of Neolithic societies, particularly their transit from foraging to agriculture. Both assume rational optimizing behavior. It is argued that satisficing theories provide a superior explanation of transition (and non-transition) by some hunter-gatherers. Furthermore, many of the concepts associated with neoclassical economics are shown to be inadequate for analyzing the choice problems involved. Moreover, it is argued that all behavioral theories considering the relationship between human behavior and economic evolution need to pay attention to the way that decision-making is embedded in social structures. It is unlikely that a single theory will be able to explain the economic evolution of all societies when social structures and other relevant variables differ between communities.
    Keywords: Economic evolution, economic optimization, human behavioral ecology, hunter-gatherers, Neolithic Revolution, satisficing behavior, social embedding., Community/Rural/Urban Development, Crop Production/Industries, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, D01, O10, P00, Q10,
    Date: 2016–01–19
  14. By: Amy King and Brendan Taylor
    Abstract: The remembered history of the Second World War continues to infect contemporary relations between China and its Northeast Asian neighbours. This article argues that a ‘history spiral’ has taken hold in Northeast Asia as a result of the region's changing strategic order and domestic politics in China, Japan and South Korea. Using the case studies of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands territorial dispute, the Dokdo/Takeshima territorial disputes, and Sino-South Korean memorial diplomacy, we explore the interactive spiralling dynamics of Northeast Asia's history problems. We suggest that despite some recent signs of an improvement in Northeast Asian relations since late 2014, the ‘history spiral’ is likely to remain a fixture of Northeast Asia's international politics owing to the region's changing strategic order.
    Keywords: history, memory, Northeast Asia, security, Second World War
    Date: 2016–02–02
  15. By: Yuri M. Zhukov
    Abstract: Why do combatants intentionally uproot civilians? The forcible relocation of families and communities to concentration camps, ``protected villages'' and other special settlements is a regular feature of irregular war, occurring in almost a third of all counterinsurgency campaigns since 1816. Despite the historical regularity of these practices, most research has focused on individual decisions to flee, rather than the brute-force resettlement of civilians by combatants. Using a dynamic model of popular support and new micro-level data from Soviet secret police archives, I show that civilian resettlement is not simply a by-product of war, but is a rational response to informational asymmetry. Combatants who cannot identify and selectively punish their opponents face incentives to control the population rather than earn its support. For strong governments with limited coercive leverage, civilian resettlement offers a way to reduce rebel activity without having to win hearts and minds.
  16. By: Angel De la Fuente
    Abstract: En este trabajo se elaboran series homogeneas de PIB, empleo y otros agregados de Contabilidad Nacional para el conjunto de España durante el periodo 1955-2014. Las series se construyen mediante el enlace de diversas bases de la CNE y de la Contabilidad Trimestral.
    Keywords: Análisis Macroeconómico , Documento de Trabajo , España , Investigación
    JEL: E01
    Date: 2016–01
  17. By: Todd K. Gardner
    Abstract: This study uses census microdata from 1960 to 2010 to look at the rates of suburbanization in the 100 largest metro areas. Looking at the racial and ethnic composition of the population, and then further breaking down these groups by income, it’s clear that more affluent people were more likely to move to the suburbs. Also, the White non-Hispanic population has long been the most suburbanized group. A majority of the White population lived in suburbs by 1960 in the 100 largest metro areas, while most of the Black non-Hispanic population lived in urban core areas as late as 2000. The Hispanic and Asian populations went from majority urban to majority suburban during this period.
    Keywords: suburbanization, race, ethnicity
    Date: 2016–02
  18. By: Laura Panza; David Merrett
    Abstract: The motivation for this paper is to discover the arrangements made by banks to settle the world’s financial payments in the 1930s. Drawing from transaction cost theory we show that correspondent banking relationships were more important and widespread than multinational banks’ branches. The argument is then tested empirically by a gravity model using an instrumental Poisson pseudomaximum likelihood estimation strategy. We find that the strength of bilateral trade, the presence of financial centres, colonial linkages and the size of the financial sector in host countries drove the choice between branches and correspondents.
    Date: 2014–08
  19. By: Fulford, Scott L. (Boston College); Schuh, Scott (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)
    Abstract: Despite the centrality of credit and debt in the financial lives of Americans, little is known about how U.S. consumers' access and utilization of credit changes in the short and long term, and how these changes are related to changes in U.S. consumers' debt. This paper uses data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which contains a 5 percent sample of every credit account in the United States from 1999 to 2014 from the credit reporting agency Equifax. It examines how changing credit availability, debt, and utilization over the business cycle and the life cycle and across individuals relate to U.S. consumers' patterns of incurring, carrying, and paying off their debts. Much of this paper focuses on credit cards, since these have observable limits and are widely held, but the paper also briefly examines other forms of debt over the consumer life cycle.
    JEL: D14 D91 E21
    Date: 2015–10–01
  20. By: Juan Carmona; James Simpson
    Abstract: La generalización de los conflictos rurales durante la Segunda República fue un factor importante para explicar la inestabilidad política que condujo al golpe de Estado y la Guerra Civil en 1936. En este trabajo se analiza Extremadura, escenario del 75 % de las invasiones de tierras en el país durante la República. A partir del aprovechamiento de diferentes fuentes poco explotadas, mostramos que los problemas de la región y la naturaleza de los conflictos vistos desde Madrid eran muy diferentes a lo que sucedía a nivel local. La escasez de tierras cultivables explica que las distintas medidas de redistribución de tierras puestas en marcha por los gobiernos entraban en conflicto, no solo con los intereses de los propietarios, sino con las formas de acceso a la tierra de otros cultivadores que se vieron perjudicados. Por tanto, los aparceros que cultivaban las dehesas, y que los contemporáneos de la II República empezaron a llamar yunteros, habrían estado divididos con respecto a su participación en las invasiones. Esta interpretación explica mejor la polarización política de la sociedad rural extremeña que evidencian los resultados electorales.
    Keywords: coflictos rurales , reforma agraria , Extremadura , España , Segunda República española
    JEL: N54 O13 Q15 R52
    Date: 2015–12
  21. By: Eric Clark (Lund University, Department of Human Geography); Henrik Gutzon Larsen (Lund University, Department of Human Geography); Anders Lund Hansen (Lund University, Department of Human Geography)
    Abstract: This paper provides a review of research into financialisation of built environments, especially in relation to urban politics, social geographies and sustainability. Focus is limited here to the theoretical and conceptual substance of selected literature. Financialisation is conceptualised as a profoundly spatial process, forging social relations that form conditions for urban governance, social geographic change and urban sustainability. The paper frames financialisation of built environments as a process enmeshed with related processes of commodification, privatisation, neoliberalisation, and accumulation by dispossession, associated with the creation and appropriation of rent gaps. Land rent and rent gaps are highlighted as central to understanding financialisation of built environments. We then review research into relations between financialisation of built environments and urban governance, i.e. how financialisation impacts upon, while being facilitated or deterred by, urban politics. This sets the stage for reviewing research into relations between financialisation of built environments and observed patterns of change in the social geographies of cities, and research into the sustainability implications of financialisation of built environments. Conclusions reconsider the nature of the relationship between financialisation and urbanisation, and the challenges of bringing financial systems into the service of achieving social and natural sustainability.
    Keywords: financialisation, built environment, urban governance, land rent, sustainability
    JEL: D63 G19 O29 P16 Q01 R00 R58
    Date: 2015–09–01

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