nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2018‒06‒18
thirty papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. We are Ninjas: How Economic History has Infiltrated Economics By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  2. Patents in the Long Run: Theory, History and Statistics By Claude Diebolt; Karine Pellier
  3. Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data By Henry S. Farber; Daniel Herbst; Ilyana Kuziemko; Suresh Naidu
  4. Distribution, wealth and demand regimes in historical perspective. USA, UK, France and Germany, 1855-2010 By Engelbert Stockhammer; Joel Rabinovich; Niall Reddy
  5. Uncertainty and Hyperinflation: European Inflation Dynamics after World War I By Jose A. Lopez; Kris James Mitchener
  6. Uncertainty and Hyperinflation: European Inflation Dynamics after World War I By Lopez, Jose A; Mitchener, Kris James
  7. The economics of Edwardian imperial preference: what can New Zealand reveal? By Varian, Brian
  8. The roots of the Euro By Labrinidis, George
  9. SOCIAL JUSTICE: SEN AGAINST HAYEK AND BOTH FACING RAWLS. An a contrario argument for the contractualist approach of liberalism. By Claude Gamel
  10. Jean-Michel Grandmont - A Forthcoming Mind By Laurent Linnemer; Michael Visser
  11. O retrospectivă analitică a contextului crizei datoriei externe a României din anii 1980 By Georgescu, George
  12. Is Inequality Increasing in r-g? The Dynamics of Capital’s Income Share in the UK, 1210-2013 By MADSEN, Jakob B
  14. Home Sweet Home: the Effect of Sugar Protectionism on Emigration in Italy, 1876-1913 By Carlo Ciccarelli; Alberto Dalmazzo; Daniela Vuri
  15. Global Financial Cycles and Risk Premiums By Jorda, Oscar; Schularick, Moritz; Taylor, Alan M.; Ward, Felix
  16. Destabilizing orders - Understanding the consequences of neoliberalism. Proceedings of the MaxPo Fifth-Anniversary Conference, Paris, January 12-13, 2018 By Andersson, Jenny; Godechot, Olivier
  17. The Effects of Industry Classification Changes on US Employment Composition By Teresa C. Fort; Shawn D. Klimek
  18. Central Banking and Macroeconomic Ideas: Economics, Politics and History By Donato Masciandaro
  19. Central bank policies in recent years By Goodhart, Charles
  20. Sanitary infrastructures and the decline of mortality in Germany, 1877-1913 By Gallardo Albarran, Daniel
  21. Des dettes de guerre des années 1701-12 à l’euphorie financière de 1719-20 : une perspective pan-européenne By Stefano Condorelli
  22. Life After Default: Private vs. Official Sovereign Debt Restructurings By Silvia Marchesi; Tania Masi
  23. Maize and Precolonial Africa By Jevan Cherniwchan; Juan Moreno-Cruz
  24. Spinning the Web: The Impact of ICT on Trade in Intermediates and Technology Diffusion By Réka Juhász; Claudia Steinwender
  25. A history of inequality: top incomes in Brazil, 1926?2015 By Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza
  26. China’s African Union diplomacy: challenges and prospects for the future By Carrozza, Ilaria
  27. That's classified! Inventing a new patent taxonomy By Billington, Stephen D.; Hanna, Alan J.
  28. The Cultural Divide By Desmet, Klaus; Wacziarg, Romain
  29. Understanding the politics of bailout policies in non-Western countries: The use of sovereign wealth funds By Braunstein, Jürgen
  30. A theory of regional conflict complexes By Arthur Silve; Thierry Verdier

  1. By: Claude Diebolt (CNRS, BETA, University of Strasbourg Strasbourg, France); Michael Haupert (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Claude Diebolt (BETA, University of Strasbourg Strasbourg, France); Karine Pellier
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Henry S. Farber; Daniel Herbst; Ilyana Kuziemko; Suresh Naidu
    Abstract: It is well-documented that, since at least the early twentieth century, U.S. income inequality has varied inversely with union density. But moving beyond this aggregate relationship has proven difficult, in part because of the absence of micro-level data on union membership prior to 1973. We develop a new source of micro-data on union membership, opinion polls primarily from Gallup (N ≈ 980, 000), to look at the effects of unions on inequality from 1936 to the present. First, we present a new time series of household union membership from this period. Second, we use these data to show that, throughout this period, union density is inversely correlated with the relative skill of union members. When density was at its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, union members were relatively less-skilled, whereas today and in the pre-World War II period, union members are equally skilled as non-members. Third, we estimate union household income premiums over this same period, finding that despite large changes in union density and selection, the premium holds steady, at roughly 15–20 log points, over the past eighty years. Finally, we present a number of direct results that, across a variety of identifying assumptions, suggest unions have had a significant, equalizing effect on the income distribution over our long sample period.
    JEL: J51 N32
    Date: 2018–05
  4. By: Engelbert Stockhammer; Joel Rabinovich; Niall Reddy
    Abstract: Most empirical macroeconomic research limited to the period since World War II. This paper analyses the effects of changes in income distribution and in private wealth on consumption and investment covering a period from as early as 1855 until 2010 for the UK, France, Germany and USA, based on the dataset of Piketty and Zucman (2014). We contribute to the post-Keynesian debate on the nature of demand regimes, mainstream analyses of wealth effects and the financialisation debate. We find that overall domestic demand has been wage-led in the USA, UK and Germany. Total investment responds positively to higher wage shares, which is driven by residential investment. For corporate investment alone, we find a negative relation. Wealth effects are found to be positive and significant for consumption in the USA and UK, but weaker in France and Germany. Investment is negatively affected by private wealth in the USA and the UK, but positively in France and Germany.
    Keywords: historical macroeconomics, demand regimes, Bhaduri-Marglin model, wealth effects, financialisation
    JEL: B50 E11 E12 E20 E21 N10
    Date: 2018–03
  5. By: Jose A. Lopez; Kris James Mitchener
    Abstract: Fiscal deficits, elevated debt-to-GDP ratios, and high inflation rates suggest hyperinflation could have potentially emerged in many European countries after World War I. We demonstrate that economic policy uncertainty was instrumental in pushing a subset of European countries into hyperinflation shortly after the end of the war. Germany, Austria, Poland, and Hungary (GAPH) suffered from frequent uncertainty shocks – and correspondingly high levels of uncertainty – caused by protracted political negotiations over reparations payments, the apportionment of the Austro-Hungarian debt, and border disputes. In contrast, other European countries exhibited lower levels of measured uncertainty between 1919 and 1925, allowing them more capacity with which to implement credible commitments to their fiscal and monetary policies. Impulse response functions show that increased uncertainty caused a rise in inflation contemporaneously and for a few months afterward in GAPH, but this effect was absent or much more limited for the other European countries in our sample. Our results suggest that elevated economic uncertainty directly affected inflation dynamics and the incidence of hyperinflation during the interwar period.
    JEL: E3 E31 E4 E52 E62 N14
    Date: 2018–05
  6. By: Lopez, Jose A; Mitchener, Kris James
    Abstract: Fiscal deficits, elevated debt-to-GDP ratios, and high inflation rates suggest hyperinflation could have potentially emerged in many European countries after World War I. We demonstrate that economic policy uncertainty was instrumental in pushing a subset of European countries into hyperinflation shortly after the end of the war. Germany, Austria, Poland, and Hungary (GAPH) suffered from frequent uncertainty shocks - and correspondingly high levels of uncertainty - caused by protracted political negotiations over reparations payments, the apportionment of the Austro-Hungarian debt, and border disputes. In contrast, other European countries exhibited lower levels of measured uncertainty between 1919 and 1925, allowing them more capacity with which to implement credible commitments to their fiscal and monetary policies. Impulse response functions show that increased uncertainty caused a rise in inflation contemporaneously and for a few months afterward in GAPH, but this effect was absent or much more limited for the other European countries in our sample. Our results suggest that elevated economic uncertainty directly affected inflation dynamics and the incidence of hyperinflation during the interwar period.
    Keywords: Exchange Rates; Hyperinflation; prices; reparations; uncertainty
    JEL: E31 E63 F31 F33 F41 F51 G15 N14
    Date: 2018–05
  7. By: Varian, Brian
    Abstract: In the Edwardian era, the British Dominions adopted policies of imperial preference, amid a period of rising imports from the United States and industrial Continental Europe. Hitherto, there has been no econometric assessment of whether these policies produced an intra-Empire trade diversion, as intended. This paper focuses on New Zealand’s initial policy of imperial preference, codified in the Preferential and Reciprocal Trade Act of 1903. New Zealand’s policy was unique insofar as it extended preference to only certain commodities. Using a commodity panel regression, this paper exploits the cross-commodity variation in the extension of preference, but finds no statistically significant effect of preference on either the Empire share or, specifically, the British share of New Zealand’s imports. This finding is corroborated by an alternative empirical approach involving propensity-score matching.
    Keywords: Imperial preference; tariffs; trade; empire; Britain; New Zealand
    JEL: H1 N25 P48
    Date: 2018–06
  8. By: Labrinidis, George
    Abstract: Indisputably, the euro has played a pivotal role in the development of Europe. Yet, the euro has also been very controversial, raising many discussions related to the nature, role and form of the “common currency”. This paper aims at contributing to this ongoing debate from a Marxist perspective, presenting the theoretical framework of quasi-world money and examining the evolution of the euro as such, from the 1950s when the idea appeared for the first time. In particular, the paper focuses on the processes that led to the emergence of the euro as quasi-world money. These processes comprised a series of political solutions to the contradiction between the necessity of all major European countries to impose their money on the European market on the one hand, and their incompetence in doing so, on the other. The analysis focuses on the post-war European monetary system up until the launch of the European Monetary Union. Its object is a historical monetary compromise that passed through many phases and managed to survive until the present day. The paper analyses the particular mechanisms through which the euro became a reality and points to the class interests that were satisfied in each phase. This discussion offers useful insights for the current debate that unfolds amidst a deep capitalist crisis internationally and a particular monetary crisis in the European Union.
    Keywords: Euro, quasi-world money, European monetary system
    JEL: B14 E42 F33
    Date: 2018–04–23
  9. By: Claude Gamel (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Concerning social justice, Hayek and Sen use methods which are unexpectedly close enough, when compared to Rawlsian contractualism (Gamel [2013]). They also exploit classical “markers” of the liberal thought (Adam Smith’s works, the role of the market, the recourse to the law), but they make of them various and even opposed uses. This second paradox leads to questioning the pragmatism of their respective approaches (“evolutionist” according to the former and “comparative” according to the latter), which provides Rawls’ non pragmatic “contractualism” with an a contrario argument. That non pragmatic approach is the philosophical basis of an “economics of liberal egalitarianism”.
    Abstract: Sur la justice sociale, Hayek et Sen font preuve d’une proximité méthodologique inattendue, en se démarquant l’un et l’autre du contractualisme rawlsien (Gamel [2013]). Ils exploitent aussi des « marqueurs » classiques de la pensée libérale (l’œuvre d’Adam Smith, le rôle du marché, le recours au droit), mais en font des usages différents, voire opposés. Ce second paradoxe met en cause le pragmatisme de leur démarche (« évolutionniste » pour le premier, « comparatiste » pour le second), ce qui consolide a contrario l’approche « contractualiste » non pragmatique de Rawls, socle philosophique d’une « économie de l’égalitarisme libéral ».
    Date: 2018–05–17
  10. By: Laurent Linnemer; Michael Visser
    Abstract: This profile of Jean-Michel Grandmont is based on several interviews we had with him between September 2016 and April 2017. The interviews took place at our CREST offices, located at that time in Malakoff, just south of Paris. The objective of the profile is twofold. First, we trace the career of this highly influential mathematical economist who made seminal contributions to the fields of monetary economics, temporary equilibrium, business cycle theory, and aggregation of individual behavior. Second, we show how Grandmont and his colleagues contributed to changing the French landscape of economic research.
    Keywords: general equilibrium, money, nonlinear dynamics
    JEL: B31 D50 D70 E30
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Georgescu, George
    Abstract: This study, based on more recent research, including disarchived and / or declassificated information regarding the communist period in Romania, both internally and internationally, focuses on exploring the 1980s external debt crisis context and causes, as well as the impact of internal and external factors, having as intention a reevaluation, closer to the reality, of those times state of affaires. At the beginning of the 1980s, the global economy was marked by a severe economic and financial crisis, the first on global-scale in history, felt by more than 30 developing countries as a balance of payments crisis, which resulted in the renegotiation and rescheduling of their sovereign debt. In the case of Romania, the external debt crisis triggered in 1982 has been aggravated, in an extremely severe manner, by overlapping internal vulnerabilities accumulated in previous decades with external shock caused by the major changes in the global economic, financial and geopolitical context at the end of 1979, which led to the explosive rise in interest rates on loans contracted from private commercial banks under floating interest rates, as well as the introduction of conditionalities on loans granted by international financial institutions. The study conclude that the decision of Romanian authorities to liquidate the external debt and the crisis management errors had a destructive impact on the Romanian economy, degenerated in a system crisis at the end of 1989. Many of the external debt crisis were felt also afterwards, slowing down significantly the pace of the transition to the market economy and the positioning of the country on a sustainable development trajectory.
    Keywords: external debt crisis; oil crisis shocks; IMF; FED monetary policy; interest rates; sovereign debt rescheduling
    JEL: B22 E44 E62 F34 H63 N44
    Date: 2018–05–15
  12. By: MADSEN, Jakob B
    Abstract: This paper provides the first very long term empirical examination of Piketty’s (2014) controversial hypothesis that inequality is increasing in r – g, (assets - real income). Using unique annual data on asset returns for a balanced portfolio and several other variables for the UK over the period 1210-2013, the study examines whether the dynamics in capital’s income share, SW, are governed by (r–g). The analysis confirms that r and g are robust and significant determinants of factor shares and that they have been the major forces behind the large inequality waves over the past eight centuries.
    Keywords: Inequality and the (r-g)-gap, dynamics of inequality, inequality in the UK, 1210-2013
    JEL: E1 E2 O4 N1 N30 P1
    Date: 2018–06
  13. By: Andrew Johnston; Blanche Segrestin (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Armand Hatchuel (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We show that professional management began to emerge in UK companies during the first half of the twentieth century, a development which was widely theorised and accepted. However, the managerially-led enterprise was accommodated rather than protected by company law, making it vulnerable to changes in the law. The Cohen Report of 1945 paid no attention to these developments, and led to the introduction, in the Companies Act 1948, of important, but previously little appreciated, changes in the name of enhancing the accountability of directors to shareholders. The shareholders' statutory right to remove the directors by simple majority overturned existing structures overnight and was an important driver of the hostile takeover, which emerged shortly afterwards. This deprived management of the necessary autonomy to balance the competing interests at stake in the enterprise and to foster innovation. This is how the current system of shareholder primacy was born.
    Keywords: Company Law,Corporate Governance,Enterprise,Management,Hostile Takeover,Legal History
    Date: 2018
  14. By: Carlo Ciccarelli (DEF & CEIS,University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Alberto Dalmazzo (University of Siena,); Daniela Vuri (DEF & CEIS,University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: Protectionist policies are often considered or even implemented as a reaction to increasing globalization. This is not new in history. This paper uses the introduction of import duties on sugar in the late nineteenth century Italy to measure the impact of protectionism on migration out flows at the time of the first globalization. Both for climate reasons and the nature of the soil, the cultivation and processing of sugar beets was geographically concentrated in a small area, leading de facto to a regional protectionist policy. Our theoretical model illustrates how a tariff that favours local producers may affect residents' incentives to migrate abroad. The predictions of the model are tested with the synthetic control method which uses the variation in sugar cultivation across areas to estimate the effect of interest. Our results show that protectionism effectively reduced the relative incentive to migrate away from sugar-producing areas.
    Keywords: protectionism, regional economics, migrations, 19th century Italy.
    JEL: N93 J4 C23
    Date: 2018–06–08
  15. By: Jorda, Oscar (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco); Schularick, Moritz (University of Bonn); Taylor, Alan M. (University of California, Davis); Ward, Felix (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper studies the synchronization of financial cycles across 17 advanced economies over the past 150 years. The comovement in credit, house prices, and equity prices has reached historical highs in the past three decades. The sharp increase in the comovement of global equity markets is particularly notable. We demonstrate that fluctuations in risk premiums, and not risk-free rates and dividends, account for a large part of the observed equity price synchronization after 1990. We also show that U.S. monetary policy has come to play an important role as a source of fluctuations in risk appetite across global equity markets. These fluctuations are transmitted across both fixed and floating exchange rate regimes, but the effects are more muted in floating rate regimes.
    JEL: E50 F33 F42 F44 G12 N10 N20
    Date: 2018–06–11
  16. By: Andersson, Jenny; Godechot, Olivier
    Abstract: Throughout the long postwar period, crisis was a conjectural phenomenon and the exception in a normalcy of growth and social progress. Many key concepts of the social sciences - indeed, our understanding of democracy, embedded markets, enlightened electorates, benevolent political elites, and problem-solving progressive alliances - seem inapt for understanding today's societal upheaval. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, we have witnessed the breakdown of majority alliances, the return of populism on a grand scale both in the Western world and globally, and the eruption into chaotic and sometimes violent social protests. The forces that underpinned the framework of welfare capitalism seem obsolete in the face of financial and political elites who are paradoxically both disconnected from national territory and sometimes in direct alliance with nationalist and populist movements. Politics of resentment, politics of place, and new politics of class interact in ways that we do not yet understand. Perhaps the greatest paradox of all is that neoliberalism has spawned authoritarianism. At the same time, these processes are not at all new, but must be put in the context of the socioeconomic and cultural cleavages produced by the shift to neoliberalism since the 1970s. The paper presents arguments by leading scholars in economic history, economic sociology, and political economy in brief thinknotes that were prepared for the MaxPo Fifth-Anniversary Conference on January 12 and 13, 2018, in Paris.
    Keywords: crisis,neoliberalism,elites,political economy,economic sociology
    Date: 2018
  17. By: Teresa C. Fort; Shawn D. Klimek
    Abstract: This paper documents the extent to which compositional changes in US employment from 1976 to 2009 are due to changes in the industry classification scheme used to categorize economic activity. In 1997, US statistical agencies began implementation of a change from the Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC) to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). NAICS was designed to provide a consistent classification scheme that consolidated declining or obsolete industries and added categories for new industries. Under NAICS, many activities previously classified as Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, or Retail Trade were re-classified into the Services sector. This re-classification resulted in a significant shift of measured activities across sectors without any change in underlying economic activity. Using a newly developed establishment-level database of employment activity that is consistently classified on a NAICS basis, this paper shows that the change from SIC to NAICS increased the share of Services employment by approximately 36 percent. 7.6 percent of US manufacturing employment, equal to approximately 1.4 million jobs, was reclassified to services. Retail trade and wholesale trade also experienced a significant reclassification of activities in the transition.
    JEL: E24
    Date: 2018–06
  18. By: Donato Masciandaro
    Abstract: The lecture notes describe different views in analysing the relationships between the central banking activities – i.e. monetary and banking policies – and the business cycle, using a modified workhorse AS AD model, in order to include in the simplest way uncertainty, expectations and the role of banking and finance, as well as the incentives of the policymakers. The bottom line is to show pedagogically that one size - i.e. a unique economic mainstream – doesn’t fit all – i.e. cannot explain different national and historical business cycles. Therefore it is necessary to know more than one macroeconomic views, and history, politics and empirics matters in disentangling the pros and cons of each of them.
    Date: 2018
  19. By: Goodhart, Charles
    JEL: F3 G3
    Date: 2018
  20. By: Gallardo Albarran, Daniel (Groningen University)
    Abstract: Clean water provision is considered crucial towards eradicating water-borne diseases. However, the benefits of piped water are limited in the absence of efficient systems of waste disposal due to recontamination or the exposure of citizens to excrement. In this article, I analyse the historical experience of German cities and estimate the impact of water supply and sewerage systems on mortality. The results show that waterworks lowered mortality, although to a lower extent than suggested previously. I observe a much stronger effect of sanitary interventions in cities that also established sewerage systems. Together they explain 19 percent of the overall mortality decline during this period. Three pieces of evidence show that the limited effects of waterworks is related to illnesses spread via faecal-oral transmission mechanisms. First, sanitary infrastructures account for a quarter of the decline in infant mortality, which is largely affected by water-borne ailments. Second, I find a large effect for enteric-related illnesses, while deaths from etiologies with a different pathological basis are not affected. Finally, the estimated effect is related exclusively to the sanitary interventions because mortality only declines significantly after their completion, and not before.
    Date: 2018
  21. By: Stefano Condorelli (Center for Global Studies, Bern University - Université de Berne)
    Abstract: Les grandes guerres européennes, au tournant du XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle, marquent la transition entre un modèle de financement des dépenses militaires basé essentiellement sur l’impôt et un modèle basé en grande partie sur l’emprunt. L’emprunt – spécialement en temps de guerre – apparaît doublement préférable à l’impôt : parce qu’il offre dans l’immédiat un effet de levier bien plus important ; parce qu’il prémunit les États, également dans l’immédiat, contre les révoltes qui pourraient accompagner un fort renforcement de la fiscalité. Les premières années de la guerre de Succession d’Espagne (1701-07) marquent la période dorée de cette phase de transition : l’Angleterre, les Provinces-Unies, et dans une moindre mesure la France, parviennent à emprunter facilement et à des taux relativement faibles, et ce malgré les énormes dépenses militaires. Cependant, l’augmentation en flèche des taux d’endettement finit par entraîner une grave crise financière (1708-11) et une dislocation des marchés du crédit. Les belligérants continuent à emprunter massivement, mais à des taux de plus en plus élevés. Face à une guerre qui semble devoir se prolonger indéfiniment – faute de victoire décisive de part ou d’autre –, le poids croissant de la dette est sans doute la raison essentielle qui contraint France et Angleterre (les deux principaux adversaires) à rechercher la paix. La paix revenue (1713), les ex-belligérants gardent en héritage des niveaux d’endettement sans précédent. Les États expérimentent diverses méthodes afin de réduire drastiquement la charge de la dette sans pour autant la répudier. La plus célèbre et la plus vaste de ces expériences, le Système de Law, déclenche en 1719-20 une dynamique pan-européenne d’euphorie financière.
    Keywords: Système de Law, compagnies par actions,dette publique, guerre de Succession d’Espagne, histoire financière, euphorie financière
    Date: 2017–11–10
  22. By: Silvia Marchesi (University of Milano Bicocca and Centro Studi Luca D'Agliano); Tania Masi (University of Milano Bicocca)
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between sovereign debt default and annual GDP growth taking into account the depth of a debt restructuring and distinguishing between private and official deals, as well as between debt flow and stock reduction. Analyzing 520 restructuring episodes, over the period 1975-2013, we find that private and official defaults may have different growth outcomes. Most importantly, controlling for the severity of the debt crisis, we are able to detect a more lasting and negative relationship between default and growth. While private defaults are generally associated with lower growth during the crisis and over the long run (mitigated by the amount involved), for official defaulters we do not observe a growth contraction throughout the years of the crisis and they are associated with higher growth over the long run (independently of the amount involved). When debt relief operations involve debt write offs, however, the negative relationship between private default and growth becomes blurred, while official defaulters strongly benefit in terms of growth from the face value reduction. Using the Synthetic Control Method, we present further evidence for the heterogeneity of the economic impact of debt restructurings, confirming that official and private defaults may have different effects on GDP growth and should then be treated differently.
    Keywords: Haircuts, Output losses, Sovereign defaults
    JEL: F34 G15 H63
    Date: 2018–06–04
  23. By: Jevan Cherniwchan; Juan Moreno-Cruz
    Abstract: Columbus’s arrival in the New World triggered an unprecedented movement of people and crops across the Atlantic Ocean. We study an overlooked part of this Columbian Exchange: the effects of New World crops in Africa. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that the introduction of maize increased population density and Trans-Atlantic slave exports in precolonial Africa. We find robust empirical support for these predictions. We also find little evidence to suggest maize increased economic growth or reduced conflict. Our results suggest that rather than stimulating development, the introduction of maize simply increased the supply of slaves during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
    Keywords: Africa, Columbian exchange, maize, slave trades
    JEL: N57 O13 Q10
    Date: 2018
  24. By: Réka Juhász; Claudia Steinwender
    Abstract: This paper studies how information and communication technology (ICT) improvements affect trade along the value chain and international technology diffusion. We examine the impact of a revolutionary technology, the roll-out of the global telegraph network, on the 19th century cotton textile industry. First, we show that connection to the telegraph disproportionately increased trade in intermediate goods relative to final goods. We document that this was due to differences in codifiability; that is, the extent to which product specifications could be communicated at a distance using only words (and thus by sending telegrams) as opposed to inspecting a sample of the product. Second, adoption of the telegraph also facilitated international technology diffusion through the complementary mechanisms of importing machinery and acquiring knowledge of the production process and local demand through importing intermediates. These results shed light on how ICT facilitates the formation of global value chains and the diffusion of frontier technology.
    JEL: F14 N7 O14 O33
    Date: 2018–05
  25. By: Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "Brazil has undergone massive structural change since the mid-1920s. The country has become predominantly urban, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has increased twelvefold, and educational levels have risen substantially. Yet the concentration of income at the top has remained very high throughout the whole period. Unlike the rosy predictions of modernisation theorists, there has been no clear secular trend towards a more egalitarian society". (...)
    Keywords: history, inequality, top, incomes, Brazil, 1926, 2015
    Date: 2018–04
  26. By: Carrozza, Ilaria
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2018
  27. By: Billington, Stephen D.; Hanna, Alan J.
    Abstract: Patent studies inform our understanding of innovation. Any study of patenting involves classifying patent data according to a chosen taxonomy. The literature has produced numerous taxonomies, which means patents are being classified differently across studies. This potential inconsistency is compounded by a lack of documentation provided on existing taxonomies, making them diffcult to replicate. Because of this, we develop a new patent taxonomy using machine learning techniques, and propose a new methodology to automate patent classification. We contrast existing taxonomies with our own upon a widely used patent dataset. In a regression analysis of patent classes upon patent characteristics, we show that classification bias exists: the size, statistical significance, and direction of association of coefficients depend upon how a patent dataset has been classified. We recommend investigators adopt our approach to ensure future studies are comparable and replicable.
    Keywords: Innovation,Invention,Machine Learning,Patents,Patent Classification,Taxonomy,Economic History
    JEL: K11 N24 N74 O31 O33
    Date: 2018
  28. By: Desmet, Klaus; Wacziarg, Romain
    Abstract: This paper conducts a systematic quantitative study of cultural convergence and divergence in the United States over time. Using the General Social Survey (1972-2016), we assess whether cultural values have grown more or less heterogeneous, both overall and between groups. Groups are defined according to 11 identity cleavages such as gender, religion, ethnic origin, family income quintiles, geographic region, education levels, etc. We find some evidence of greater overall heterogeneity after 1993 when averaging over all available values, yet on many issues heterogeneity changes little. The level of between-group heterogeneity is extremely small: the United States is very pluralistic in terms of cultural attitudes and values, but this diversity is not primarily the result of cultural divides between groups. On average across cleavages and values, we find evidence of falling between-group heterogeneity from 1972 to the late 1990s, and growing divides thereafter. We interpret these findings in light of a model of cultural change where intergenerational transmission and forces of social influence determine the distribution of cultural traits in society.
    Keywords: between-group heterogeneity; cultural convergence; cultural divide; Cultural Evolution; cultural heterogeneity; General Social Survey; United States
    JEL: D70 Z1
    Date: 2018–05
  29. By: Braunstein, Jürgen
    Abstract: This article examines bailout policies in non-Western states through selected case studies of financial bailouts in Hong Kong and Singapore between the 1960s and 1990s. Given their structural similarities and extreme openness, standard explanations would expect to find similar policy responses over this period. However, between the 1960s and 1990s, bailout policies differed greatly between the two countries, particularly with respect to the use of their sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). This article also shows that the differing uses of SWFs reflected the respective regulatory environments. In line with an emerging stream of studies in comparative politics, the present article finds that these differences take root in the institutional settings of the respective countries and vary across state-business relations.
    Keywords: financial crises; sovereign wealth funds; bailouts; government-business relations; small open economies
    JEL: N0 F3 G3
    Date: 2017–01–02
  30. By: Arthur Silve; Thierry Verdier
    Abstract: Civil conflicts spill over into neighboring countries. This paper proposes a theory of the contagion of civil wars. Weak territorial control facilitates the emergence of a regional market for war inputs in the “porous frontier.” The contagion effect is nonlinear and creates multiple equilibrium situations of regional complexes of civil conflicts. This helps explain the observed patterns of regional clustering of conflict and institutional quality, and raises identification issues in the measurement of the contagion effect. We also derive a positive spillover of civil wars: governments are sometimes in a position to avoid contagion by improving their institutions. Finally, we explore the policy implications for military intervention, and military and institutional cooperation.
    Keywords: civil war, contagion, porous frontier, institutions, military intervention, institutional cooperation
    JEL: D74 N40 P48
    Date: 2018

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