nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2017‒05‒21
29 papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Did Inequality in Farm Sizes Lead to Suppression of Banking and Credit in the Late Nineteenth Century? By Matthew S. Jaremski; Price V. Fishback
  2. Gallman Revisited: Blacksmithing and American Manufacturing, 1850-1870 By Jeremy Atack; Robert A. Margo
  3. Australian Squatters, Convicts, and Capitalists: Dividing Up a Fast-Growing Frontier Pie 1821-1871 By Laura Panza; Jeffrey G. Williamson
  4. Milton Friedman and Data Adjustment By Neil R. Ericsson; David F. Hendry; Stedman B. Hood
  5. Stealing to Survive : Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France By Vincent Bignon; Eve Caroli; Roberto Galbiati
  6. Differentiating Diamonds: Transforming Knowledge and the Accumulation of De Beers By Cochrane, D. T.
  7. Why Diamonds and De Beers?, or The Need for Accumulation Studies By Cochrane, DT
  8. Dólar, Inflación, Déficit y la Economía Política Argentina By Roque Fernández
  9. Energy and Institution Size By Fix, Blair
  10. The Economists and New Zealand Population: Problems and Policies 1900–1980s By Geoffrey T. F. Brooke; Anthony M. Endres; Alan J. Rogers
  11. Lifetime Incomes in the United States over Six Decades By Fatih Guvenen; Greg Kaplan; Jae Song; Justin Weidner
  12. Industrial Revolutions and Global Imbalances By Alexander MONGE-NARANJO; UEDA Kenichi
  13. Déjà vu? Congo from Mobutu to Kabila, twenty years later By Reyntjens, Filip
  14. Beresford’s Revenge: British equity holdings in Latin America, 1869-1929 By Richard S.Grossman
  15. The Lifelong Costs of Urban Smogs By Ball, Alastair
  16. Cities of Commerce: how can we test the hypothesis? By Jérémie Gignoux; Guillaume Daudin
  17. Capitalizing Obesity By Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
  18. Regimes of the Russian–Swedish Border in the Novgorod Lands By Adrian Selin; Kuzma Kukushkin; Ivan Sablin; Elena Kocheryagina
  19. "Change in Membership and Ranking of the Elites over Phases of Regime Change" By Tomoko Matsumoto; Tetsuji Okazaki
  20. Thirty Years of the Single European Market By Micossi, Stefano
  21. Up from Slavery? African American Intergenerational Economic Mobility Since 1880 By William J. Collins; Marianne H. Wanamaker
  22. Under Political Uncertainties:Organisational Changes in the Imperial Continental Gas Association, 1824?1987 By Ryo Izawa
  23. Global Earnings Inequality, 1970–2015 By Hammar, Olle; Waldenström, Daniel
  24. The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data By Leah Platt Boustan; Matthew E. Kahn; Paul W. Rhode; Maria Lucia Yanguas
  25. Infant Mortality and the Repeal of Federal Prohibition By David S. Jacks; Krishna Pendakur; Hitoshi Shigeoka
  26. Racial Differences in American Women's Labor Market Outcomes: A Long-Run View By William J. Collins; Michael Q. Moody
  27. Arranjos Institucionais e a Burocracia de Infraestrutura: notas para uma história sobre a construção das capacidades estatais no Brasil By Ciro Campos Christo Fernandes; Mauro Santos Silva; Bruno Queiroz Cunha; Pedro Assumpção Alves
  28. Uneven and Combined Confusion: On the Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism and the Rise of the West By Di Muzio, Tim; Dow, Matthew
  29. Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015 By Thomas Piketty; Li Yang; Gabriel Zucman

  1. By: Matthew S. Jaremski; Price V. Fishback
    Abstract: This paper creates a new database that covers all banks in the United States in the census years between 1870 and 1900 to test the interaction between inequality and financial development when the banking system was starting over from scratch. A fixed-effects panel regression shows that the number of banks per thousand people in the South has a strong positive relationship with the size of farm operations. This suggests that large Southern farm operators welcomed new banks after the Civil War. When the analysis is extended into the 1900s, the relationship becomes more negative, as bankers may have tried to block entrants.
    JEL: G20 O16 O43
    Date: 2017–04
  2. By: Jeremy Atack; Robert A. Margo
    Abstract: In nineteenth century America, blacksmiths were a fixture in every village, town and city, producing a diverse range of products from axes to wheels and services from repairs to horse-shoeing. In constructing his historical GNP accounts Robert Gallman opted to exclude these “jacks-of-all-trades” from the manufacturing sector, classifying them instead as part of the service sector. However, using establishment-level data for blacksmiths from the federal censuses of manufactures for 1850, 1860 and 1870, we re-examine that choice and show that blacksmiths were an important, if declining, source of manufactured goods. Moreover, as quintessential artisan shops, a close analysis of their structure and operation helps resolve several key puzzles regarding industrialization in the nineteenth century. As “jacks-of-all-trades,” they were generally masters of none (except for their service activities). Moreover, the historical record reveals that several of those who managed to achieve mastery moved on to become specialized manufacturers of that specific product. Such specialized producers had higher productivity levels than those calling themselves blacksmiths producing the same goods, explaining changes in industry mix and the decline of the blacksmith in manufacturing.
    JEL: N61
    Date: 2017–05
  3. By: Laura Panza; Jeffrey G. Williamson
    Abstract: Compared with its nineteenth century competitors, Australian GDP per worker grew exceptionally fast, about twice that of the US and three times that of Britain. This paper asks whether the fast growth performance produced rising inequality. Using a novel data set we offer new evidence supporting unambiguously the view that, in sharp contrast with US, Australia underwent a revolutionary leveling in incomes between the 1820s and the 1870s. This assessment is based on our annual estimates of functional shares in the form of land rents, convict incomes, free unskilled incomes, free skill premiums, British imperial transfers and a capitalist residual.
    Keywords: Colonial Australia, inequality, growth, functional distribution
    JEL: N17 N37 O47 O56
    Date: 2017–04
  4. By: Neil R. Ericsson; David F. Hendry; Stedman B. Hood
    Abstract: When empirically modelling the U.S. demand for money, Milton Friedman more than doubled the observed initial stock of money to account for a "changing degree of financial sophistication" in the United States relative to the United Kingdom. This note discusses effects of this adjustment on Friedman's empirical models.
    Date: 2017–05–15
  5. By: Vincent Bignon (Economix - Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (Paris 10)); Eve Caroli (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine); Roberto Galbiati (Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC) - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: Using local administrative data from 1826 to 1936, we document the evolution of crime ratesin 19th century France and we estimate the impact of a negative income shock on crime. Ouridentification strategy exploits the phylloxera crisis. Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxeradestroyed about 40% of French vineyards. We use the geographical variation in the timing ofthis shock to identify its impact on property and violent crime rates, as well as minor offences.Our estimates suggest that the phylloxera crisis caused a substantial increase in propertycrime rates and a significant decrease in violent crimes.
    Keywords: phylloxera,Crime,income shock,19th century France
    Date: 2017–04–20
  6. By: Cochrane, D. T.
    Abstract: In 1939, the De Beers diamond company faced a dire situation. The company’s accumulation had been dwindling for decades. The Great Depression not only pushed diamond sales to historic lows, it shifted American attitudes around consumption and thriftiness to the detriment of the luxury object. In this article, I bring together Liz McFall’s assertion that advertising needs to be studied as a “specific commercial device” with Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler’s capitalas-power theory of value (CasP), which emphasizes differential accumulation. Both McFall and CasP challenge analyses that treat capitalism as an undifferentiated totality. It is from this perspective of differentiated commercial struggle that I analyze De Beers’ early advertising campaigns as well as the market research by N.W. Ayer that preceded them. My analysis focuses on an educational component intended to transform the diamond knowledge of the masses. The analysis demonstrates how the research informed the campaign that emerged in contingent relation with various facets of American society and was transformed by changes emergent with WWII.
    Keywords: Power,Region - Africa,Region - North America,Agency,Value & Price,Business Enterprise,Capital & Accumulation,Culture
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Cochrane, DT
    Abstract: The text of this paper served as the introductory presentation for my PhD defence, held on December 2015. In it, I explain what I tried to do with the dissertation, the methods I used, and the larger project I hope it is initiating. Specifically, I suggest there is a need for accumulation studies as a field of research and analysis. The dissertation was a case study within this not-yet-existent field. Hopefully, this text serves to clarify my approach and, ideally, will generate greater interest in such research.
    Keywords: Methodology,Power,Production,Theory,Business Enterprise,Capital & Accumulation
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Roque Fernández
    Abstract: Existe abundante investigación económica y política sobre períodos con fuertes fluctuaciones en tipos de cambio, inflación y déficits fiscales. A menudo estas fluctuaciones han sido acompañadas por crisis financieras y cambiarias, documentándose ampliamente en cada circunstancia los diferentes mecanismos para la resolución de crisis tanto económicas como políticas. Economistas y especialistas en ciencias políticas han estudiado estos episodios aportando cada uno conceptos de su propia disciplina. Este trabajo contiene dos partes. La primera parte, que se desarrolla en las secciones 1 y 2, presenta un modelo extremadamente reducido que ilustró el debate macroeconómico sobre la compatibilidad déficit y tipo de cambio en los 80. Transcurridas más de tres décadas, el modelo mantiene su relevancia en la actualidad. La segunda parte, que se desarrolla a partir de la sección 3, adopta la forma teórica del modelo reducido para complementarlo con algunos conceptos de teoría política tratando de responder al siguiente interrogante: Si los recurrentes fracasos en el control de la inflación, la disminución del desempleo, la falta de crecimiento a menudo se atribuye a la mala praxis económica de gobiernos populistas, ¿por qué los candidatos populistas persistentemente triunfan en los procesos electorales? Concluyo que lo que interpretamos como mala praxis en teoría económica puede ser una solución de equilibrio en un modelo de teoría política.
    Date: 2017–04
  9. By: Fix, Blair
    Abstract: Why do institutions grow? Despite nearly a century of scientific effort, there remains little consensus on this topic. This paper offers a new approach that focuses on energy consumption. A systematic relation exists between institution size and energy consumption per capita: as energy consumption increases, institutions become larger. I hypothesize that this relation results from the interplay between technological complexity and human biological limitations. I also show how a simple stochastic model can be used to link energy consumption with firm dynamics.
    Keywords: Power,Production,Region - North America,Business Enterprise,Conflict & Violence,Cooperation & Collective Action,Distribution,Growth,Industrial Organization,Institutions
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Geoffrey T. F. Brooke; Anthony M. Endres; Alan J. Rogers (New Zealand Work Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, NZ)
    Abstract: We examine contrasting modalities of economic thought by economists on population problems and policies in NZ, 1900–1980s. Since the early 1900s NZ economists have been concerned with interactions between economic and demographic outcomes. During the inter war period Malthusian concerns were muted because NZ’s population growth approximated a stationary state. A ‘laissez faire’ position was articulated among some economists in terms of external migration flows; others debated the implications of a stationary population. The post WWII era ushered in a doctrine of ‘stable population Keynesianism’ based on optimistic neo-Malthusianism; that perspective clashed with contemporary views on population expansion and the promotion of immigration coextensive with the policy of planned industrialization. An intellectual void became apparent in the early 1980s, perhaps because concern with the dynamics of population change in a small, liberalized, open economy seemed misplaced. Lessons are drawn from this intellectual history that may inform modern debate on population policy, broadly conceived.
    Keywords: New Zealand, Population Policy, Migration, History of thought
    JEL: B2 F22 J11
    Date: 2016–08
  11. By: Fatih Guvenen; Greg Kaplan; Jae Song; Justin Weidner
    Abstract: Using panel data on individual labor income histories from 1957 to 2013, we document two empirical facts about the distribution of lifetime income in the United States. First, from the cohort that entered the labor market in 1967 to the cohort that entered in 1983, median lifetime income of men declined by 10%–19%. We find little-to-no rise in the lower three-quarters of the percentiles of the male lifetime income distribution during this period. Accounting for rising employer-provided health and pension benefits partly mitigates these findings but does not alter the substantive conclusions. For women, median lifetime income increased by 22%–33% from the 1957 to the 1983 cohort, but these gains were relative to very low lifetime income for the earliest cohort. Much of the difference between newer and older cohorts is attributed to differences in income during the early years in the labor market. Partial life-cycle profiles of income observed for cohorts that are currently in the labor market indicate that the stagnation of lifetime incomes is unlikely to reverse. Second, we find that inequality in lifetime incomes has increased significantly within each gender group. However, the closing lifetime gender gap has kept overall lifetime inequality virtually flat. The increase within gender groups is largely attributed to an increase in inequality at young ages, and partial life-cycle income data for younger cohorts indicate that the increase in inequality is likely to continue. Overall, our findings point to the substantial changes in labor market outcomes for younger workers as a critical driver of trends in both the level and inequality of lifetime income over the past 50 years.
    JEL: E24 J24 J31
    Date: 2017–04
  12. By: Alexander MONGE-NARANJO; UEDA Kenichi
    Abstract: Based on historical data since 1845, we identify a stylized fact, namely, alternating waves in global imbalances generated by sequential industrial revolutions. We develop a new theory to explain this stylized fact. Our theory proposes a development-stage view for the optimal global imbalances. It explains the Lucas Paradox on capital flows as well as rises and falls in the external wealth of nations over time.
    Date: 2017–05
  13. By: Reyntjens, Filip
    Abstract: Twenty years ago, Laurent Kabila’s AFDL troops marched into Kinshasa, thus putting an end to 32 years of rule by Mobutu. In fact, however, it was a victory orchestrated not by Kabila alone, but by a wide regional coalition whose members had good reasons for wishing to topple the regime. Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Angola wanted to neutralise the Zaire-based rebel movements that threatened them with Mobutu’s overt or covert support. Other countries, such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, had their own reasons for supporting Kabila’s campaign. They all reasoned that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. The anti-Mobutu alliance was circumstantial, and its frailties would soon appear.
    Keywords: DRCongo; DRC; Congo
    Date: 2017–05
  14. By: Richard S.Grossman (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)
    Abstract: This paper presents monthly capital gain, dividend yield, and total return indices, and measures of total capitalization for common equity of Latin American and Caribbean-based firms quoted on the London Stock Exchange during 1869-1929. In addition to an overall Latin American index, I present and analyze sub-indices for countries (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, Chile) and industrial sectors (e.g., banks, mines, railways) with extensive UK listings. I compare the Latin American and Argentinian indices with data from Argentina’s Bolsa index during 1900-1929. I also use the indices to compare equity market fluctuations across Latin American sectors and countries during the Baring crisis of 1890.
    Date: 2017–05
  15. By: Ball, Alastair (Birkbeck, University of London)
    Abstract: Exposure to smoggy days is a common part of urban life, but can be avoided by vulnerable populations with municipal investment in warnings. This paper provides the first evidence on the long-term effects of early exposure to smog. Variation comes from exposure to the Great London Smog of 1952. Affected cohorts are tracked for up to sixty years using the Office of National Statistics Longitudinal Study. Exposure to the four day smog reduced the size of the surviving cohort by 2% and caused lasting damage to human capital accumulation, employment, hours of work, and propensity to develop cancer.
    Keywords: pollution, fetal origins, Great London Smog
    JEL: Q53 I12 I18
    Date: 2017–04
  16. By: Jérémie Gignoux (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Guillaume Daudin (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: This paper discusses Gelderblom’s hypothesis that urban competition (including a large number of competing cities, footloose foreign traders and municipal autonomy) was central to the rise of inclusive trade institutions in Europe. The first part discusses the precise behaviour of traders, town authorities and sovereigns underlying Gelderblom’s explanatory framework. The second part presents some challenges to the generalisation of the book’s thesis to the history of Europe, including Italy and Britain. The last part advances a short econometric exercise to check this generalisation. Urban competition combined with starting institutional quality does not emerge as a positive factor for the growth of European cities in general: this is interpreted as a call for more research rather a decisive counter-argument.
    Abstract: Cet article discute l’hypothèse de Gelerblom selon laquelle la compétition urbaine (incluant un grand nombre de villes concurrentes entre elles, des négociants se déplaçant facilement, et l’autonomie urbaine) a été centrale pour la généralisation d’institutions de commerce ouvertes à tous en Europe. La première partie examine le comportement précis des négociants, autorités municipales et souverains qui sont au coeur du schéma explicatif de Gelderblom. La deuxième partie présente quelques difficultés qui s’opposent à la généralisation de la thèse de l’ouvrage à l’ensemble de l’histoire européenne, notamment en Italie et en Grande-Bretagne. La dernière partie propose un petit exercice économétrique pour tester cette généralisation. La compétition urbaine combinée à des institutions de bonne qualité n’apparaît pas comme un facteur de croissance pour les villes urbaines dans leur ensemble : ce résultat est interprété plus comme un appel à plus de recherche qu’un contre-argument décisif.
    Keywords: Europe,modern history,urbanisation,institutions
    Date: 2017–03–24
  17. By: Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
    Abstract: In his 2014 article, 'Food Price Inflation as Redistribution', Joseph Baines shows the intimate correspondence between differential profit and world hunger. But the capitalization of food is a dialectical process. As Michael Harrington noted more than half a century ago in his seminal book 'The Other America', the other side of affluence is poverty; and among the American poor, the other side of hunger is overweight and obesity. Over the next fifty years, the global proportion of undernourished people has diminished while that of the obese has risen; and since the early 2000s, for the first time in history, the obese have outnumbered the undernourished. How has this remarkable hunger-to-obesity transformation evolved? What forms of capital drive the obesity epidemic, including its counter-movements of anti-obesity drugs, non-communicable disease treatments, diets, surgical fixes and psychological interventions? What are the material/ideal technologies that shift the world toward ever more destructive yet profitable forms of mass overfeeding? What policies and legislation have supported this shift, and how have they been imposed on the world’s population? And most importantly, what are the qualitative and quantitative links, if any, between these various strategies of sabotage on the one hand and differential profit and capitalization on the other?
    Keywords: Power,Business Enterprise,Capital & Accumulation,Civilization & Social Systems,Demographics,Institutions
    Date: 2016
  18. By: Adrian Selin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Kuzma Kukushkin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Ivan Sablin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Elena Kocheryagina (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The working paper analysed the infrastructure of the Russian-Swedish border from a transcultural perspective. The history of the border was split into three periods following major changes in political border regimes. The first period covered the history of the border between Sweden and the Novgorod Republic after its formal delimitation in 1323. The annexation of the Novgorod Lands to the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1478 marked the beginning of the second period. The third period, which is discussed in detail, covered the history of border infrastructure between the transition of large part of the Novgorod Lands to Sweden in 1617 and 1700. Departing from the debate whether the border was a line or a zone and overcoming state-centred approaches, the working paper demonstrated that the existence of several parallel border regimes during different periods enabled the simultaneous existence of the border as a line and a zone pertaining to different social interactions and subject to manipulation by authorities. The consolidation of the border did not follow the Treaty of Stolbovo (1617), but owed to local demands and an accidental event of an epidemic in 1629–1630. Following the temporary consolidation of the border, the state established firm border control used for duty collection
    Keywords: Russia, Sweden, Novgorod, border, transcultural
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2017
  19. By: Tomoko Matsumoto (Japan Legal Information Institute, Nagoya University); Tetsuji Okazaki (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This study examines the difference between the regime transition phase and consolidation phase, dividing government elites into the pre-Meiji-Restoration-born group and the post-Meiji-Restoration-born group. Using the newly constructed government elites' data after the Meiji Restoration in Japan, we show that reformers' strategies to recruit government elites and establish a new intra-elite hierarchy changed from the regime transition phase to its consolidation phase. Initially, in order to contend against the incumbent elites, reformers recruited talented activists from the non-elite strata and assigned them to higher-level positions based on their abilities. On achieving a transfer of power, however, reformers' primary concern shifted to alleviating the dissatisfaction of the masses and the former elites. Therefore, while the barrier preventing access to the elite group keep lowering, which opened the way for non-elites to gain elite status, former elites are reintegrated into the elite group and the intra-elite hierarchy again comes to reflect the social stratum of the former regime.
    Date: 2017–03
  20. By: Micossi, Stefano
    Abstract: Over the past thirty years, the Single European Market has been the core business of the European Union, and enormous progress has been achieved in both ‘widening’ the economic activities covered by EU legislation and ‘deepening’ the acquis to overcome emerging gaps in integration in areas already covered by legislation. And yet, empirical evidence indicates that market integration has stalled on many fronts and, more importantly, that the expected economic benefits of integration in terms of higher growth of incomes, jobs, and productivity have fallen short of expectations, notably in the long-established EU-15 member states. The situation has not improved since the introduction of the euro. This paper reviews the main developments in Single European Market (SEM) legislation and regulatory activities over the past three decades; it summarises the results of the SEM programme in market integration, highlighting areas where gaps appear to be more evident; and discusses the impact of economic integration within the SEM, including aspects that play an important role in feeding popular resistance to integration.
    Keywords: Single European Market, regulatory models, free movement, goods, persons, capital, services. This report was first published by the College of Europe as Bruges European Policy Briefing No.41/2016, and is republished here with the kind permission of the College.The views expressed are attributable only to the author and not to CEPS or any other institution with which he is associated.
    Date: 2016–10
  21. By: William J. Collins; Marianne H. Wanamaker
    Abstract: We document the intergenerational mobility of black and white American men from 1880 through 2000 by building new datasets to study the late 19th and early 20th century and combining them with modern data to cover the mid- to late 20th century. We find large disparities in intergenerational mobility, with white children having far better chances of escaping the bottom of the distribution than black children in every generation. This mobility gap was more important than the gap in parents’ status in proximately determining each new generation’s racial income gap. Evidence suggests that human capital disparities underpinned the mobility gap.
    JEL: J15 J62 N31 N32
    Date: 2017–05
  22. By: Ryo Izawa (Faculty of Economics, Shiga University)
    Abstract: This study followed the brief history of a British multinational utility enterprise, Imperial Continental Gas Association (ICGA). The company passed through successive waves of technological and political shocks throughout its life. In particular, political issues such as municipalisation, wars, international taxation and nationalisation had a critical impact on its corporate behaviours. Some political events, such as compulsory liquidation by the German occupation government during the First World War, forced the company to divest its works. The fear of deprivatisation and international double taxation prompted the company to decentralise its corporate structure, whereby ICGA gradually shifted from a company with over-centralism to a pure holding company during the first half of the 20th century. Eventually, the political capabilities nurtured by these experiences contributed to the survival of ICGA for 164 years.
    Keywords: Risk,Political risk, Political capabilities, Business history, International business, International taxation, Public utility company
    Date: 2017–05
  23. By: Hammar, Olle (Uppsala University); Waldenström, Daniel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We estimate trends in global earnings dispersion across occupational groups using a new database covering 66 developed and developing countries between 1970 and 2015. Our main finding is that global earnings inequality has declined, primarily during the 2000s, when the global Gini coefficient dropped nearly 10 points and the earnings share of the world’s poorest half doubled. Decomposition analyses emphasize the role of income convergence between poor and rich countries and that earnings have become more similar within occupations in traded industries. Sensitivity checks show that the results are robust to varying real exchange rates, inequality measures and population definitions.
    Keywords: Global inequality; Development; Inequality decomposition; Labor markets
    JEL: D31 F01 O15
    Date: 2017–05–05
  24. By: Leah Platt Boustan; Matthew E. Kahn; Paul W. Rhode; Maria Lucia Yanguas
    Abstract: Major natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause numerous fatalities, and destroy property and infrastructure. In any year, the U.S experiences dozens of smaller natural disasters as well. We construct a 90 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1920 to 2010. By exploiting spatial and temporal variation, we study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices and local poverty rates. The most severe disasters increase out migration rates and lower housing prices, especially in areas at particular risk of disaster activity, but milder disasters have little effect.
    JEL: N42 Q5 R23
    Date: 2017–05
  25. By: David S. Jacks; Krishna Pendakur; Hitoshi Shigeoka
    Abstract: Exploiting a newly constructed dataset on county-level variation in prohibition status from 1933 to 1939, this paper asks two questions: what were the effects of the repeal of federal prohibition on infant mortality? And were there any significant externalities from the individual policy choices of counties and states on their neighbors? We find that dry counties with at least one wet neighbor saw baseline infant mortality increase by roughly 3% while wet counties themselves saw baseline infant mortality increase by roughly 2%. Cumulating across the six years from 1934 to 1939, our results indicate an excess of 13,665 infant deaths that could be attributable to the repeal of federal prohibition in 1933.
    JEL: H73 I18 J1 N3
    Date: 2017–04
  26. By: William J. Collins; Michael Q. Moody
    Abstract: This paper documents and explores black-white differences in U.S. women’s labor force participation, occupations, and wages from 1940 to 2014. It draws on closely related research on selection into the labor force, discrimination, and pre-labor market characteristics, such as test scores, that are strongly associated with subsequent labor market outcomes. Both black and white women significantly increased their labor force participation in this period, with white women catching up to black women by 1990. Black-white differences in occupational and wage distributions were large circa 1940. They narrowed significantly as black women’s relative outcomes improved. Following a period of rapid convergence, the racial wage gap for women widened after 1980 in census data. Differences in human capital are an empirically important underpinning of the black-white wage gap throughout the period studied.
    JEL: J0 N12
    Date: 2017–05
  27. By: Ciro Campos Christo Fernandes; Mauro Santos Silva; Bruno Queiroz Cunha; Pedro Assumpção Alves
    Abstract: O trabalho é um levantamento histórico exploratório, baseado em pesquisa documental e revisão da literatura, que focaliza a formação do aparato burocrático voltado à área de infraestrutura econômica, analisada na perspectiva da construção do Estado brasileiro e das suas capacidades técnicas, administrativas e políticas. Exploram-se, ao longo do texto, os nexos entre sucessivos arranjos institucionais e a construção das capacidades estatais de natureza técnica e política. A trajetória dos arranjos institucionais é analisada com base em uma periodização que considera as inflexões na trajetória recente de estruturação das funções do Estado e, de forma correspondente, da organização da administração pública, dos seus marcos legais e arranjos institucionais em cada período. A periodização distingue os seguintes momentos: os primórdios do desenvolvimentismo (1930-1945); a “administração paralela” e as iniciativas desenvolvimentistas (1946-1963); as empresas estatais e o Estado desenvolvimentista (1964-1988); e a emergência do Estado regulador e o ressurgimento do ativismo estatal (1988-2016). Ao final, conclui-se ser marcante, ao longo da maior parte de todo o período analisado, a persistência de um vetor de construção do aparato Estatal que desloca a formação da burocracia para fora da administração direta. The paper is an exploratory historical analysis, based on documentary research and literature review, which focuses on the formation of the bureaucratic apparatus in the area of economic infrastructure, analyzed from the perspective of the construction of the Brazilian State and its technical, administrative and political capacities. The work explores the links between successive institutional arrangements and the construction of state capabilities of a technical and political nature. The trajectory of the institutional arrangements is analyzed based on a periodization that considers the inflections in the recent trajectory of the structuring of State functions, correspondingly, the organization of the public administration, its legal frameworks and institutional arrangements in each period. The periodization distinguishes the following moments: the beginnings of developmentalism (1930-1945); the parallel administration and developmental initiatives (1946-1963); state enterprises and the developmental State (1964-1988); and the emergence of the regulatory State and the resurgence of state activism (1988-2016). In the end, the conclusion is that it is dominant during most of the period analyzed the persistence of a vector of construction of the State apparatus that dislocates the formation of the bureaucracy away from the central administration.
    Date: 2017–04
  28. By: Di Muzio, Tim; Dow, Matthew
    Abstract: This article offers a critique of Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu’s "How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism". We argue that while all historiography features a number of silences, shortcomings or omissions, the omissions in "How the West Came to Rule" lead to a mistaken view of the emergence of capitalism. There are two main issues to be confronted. First, we argue that Anievas and Nişancioğlu have an inadequate and misleading understanding of 'capital' and 'capitalism' that tilts them towards a theoretical stance that comes very close to arguing that everything caused capitalism while at the same time having no clear and convincing definition of ‘capital’ or ‘capitalism’. Second, there are at least three omissions -- particular to England/Britain within a geopolitical context -- that should be discussed in any attempt to explain the development of capitalism: the financial revolution and the Bank of England, the transition to coal energy and the capitalization of state power as it relates to war, colonialism and slavery. We conclude by calling for a connected histories approach within the framework of capital as power.
    Keywords: International & Global,Money & Finance,Power,State & Government,Value & Price,Capital & Accumulation,Civilization & Social Systems,Comparative,History
    Date: 2016
  29. By: Thomas Piketty; Li Yang; Gabriel Zucman
    Abstract: This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China over the 1978-2015 period. We find that the aggregate national wealth-income ratio has increased from 350% in 1978 to almost 700% in 2015. This can be accounted for by a combination of high saving and investment rates and a gradual rise in relative asset prices, reflecting changes in the legal system of property. The share of public property in national wealth has declined from about 70% in 1978 to 30% in 2015, which is still a lot higher than in rich countries (close to 0% or negative). Next, we provide sharp upward revision of official inequality estimates. The top 10% income share rose from 27% to 41% of national income between 1978 and 2015, while the bottom 50% share dropped from 27% to 15%. China’s inequality levels used to be close to Nordic countries and are now approaching U.S. levels.
    JEL: D31 E01 E21 O53
    Date: 2017–04

This nep-his issue is ©2017 by Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.