nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2020‒05‒18
twenty-six papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. What Determines the Capital Share over the Long Run of History? By Bengtsson, Erik; Rubolino, Enrico; Waldenström, Daniel
  2. Income Inequality in Mexico 1895-1940: Industrialization, Revolution, Institutions By Castañeda Garza, Diego; Bengtsson, Erik
  3. Mercantilist Inequality: Wealth and Poverty in Stockholm 1650-1750 By Erik, Bengtsson; Olsson, Mats; Svensson, Patrick
  4. The living standards of the labouring classes in Sweden, 1750–1900: Evidence from rural probate inventories By Bengtsson, Erik; Svensson, Patrick
  5. The Myth of Competitive Devaluations in the 1930s By Ljungberg, Jonas
  6. Economic Warfare in Twentieth Century History and strategy By Harrison, Mark
  7. State Reforms in Early Modern Mining: Røros Copperworks and the Role of Workers, Managers, Investors and the State in Business Development By Ranestad, Kristin
  8. Wage Differentials, Bargaining Protocols, and Trade Unionism in Mid-Twentieth Century American Labor Markets By Pencavel, John
  9. Effects of credit restrictions in the Netherlands and lessons for macroprudential policy By Gabriele Galati; Jan Kakes; Richhild Moessner
  10. Income Distribution in Latin America. The Evolution in the Last 20 Years: A Global Approach By Leopoldo TORNAROLLI
  11. Modigliani Meets Minsky: Inequality, Debt, and Financial Fragility in America, 1950-2016 By Alina K. Bartscher; Moritz Kuhn; Moritz Schularick; Ulrike I. Steins
  12. La France en guerre économique au printemps 2020 comme à l’automne 1914 By Hubert BONIN
  13. Measuring social mobility rates in earlier and less-documented societies By Gregory Clark
  14. Echo Effects of Early-Life Health Shocks: The Intergenerational Consequences of Prenatal Malnutrition during the Great Leap Forward Famine in China By Li, Jinhu; Menon, Nidhiya
  15. Volatility Spillover and International Contagion of Housing Bubbles By Bago, Jean-Louis; Akakpo, Koffi; Rherrad, Imad; Ouédraogo, Ernest
  16. Social Connectedness in Europe By Bailey, Michael; Kuchler, Theresa; Russel, Dominic; State, Bogdan; Stroebel, Johannes
  17. Movements in Real Estate Uncertainty in the United States: The Role of Oil Shocks By Rangan Gupta; Xin Sheng; Qiang Ji
  18. The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality By Karen Clay; Joshua A. Lewis; Edson R. Severnini; Xiao Wang
  19. Matter and regulation: socio-metabolic and accumulation regimes of French capitalism since 1948 By Louison Cahen-Fourot; Nelo Magalhães
  20. History dependence in the housing market By Bracke, Philippe; Tenreyro, Silvana
  21. Status-Seeking Culture and Development of Capitalism By Chu, Angus C.; Wang, Xilin
  22. Borderline Disorder: (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Özak, Ömer; Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio
  23. Prussia Disaggregated : The Demography of its Universe of Localities in 1871 By Becker, Sascha O.; Cinnirella, Francesco
  24. The Gold Digger and the Machine: Evidence on the Distributive Effect of the Artisanal and Industrial Gold Rushes in Burkina Faso By Rémi BAZILLIER
  25. The Economics and Politics of Social Democracy: A Reconsideration By Servaas Storm
  26. Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture By Petra Moser

  1. By: Bengtsson, Erik (Lund University); Rubolino, Enrico (Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Essex); Waldenström, Daniel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of the labor-capital split in national income for 20 countries since the late 1800s. Our main identification strategy focuses on unique historical quasi-experimental events: i) the introduction of universal suffrage, ii) close election wins of left-wing governments, iii) decolonization, iv) unionization shocks, and v) wars. We also run instrumented panel regressions. Our findings show that the capital share decreased in response to radical institutional and political shifts, such as the introduction of universal suffrage in the early 1900s, the undoing of colonialism and the implementation of redistributive policies during the post-war period. By contrast, the capital share increased following the erosion of trade unionism since the 1980s. Wars, despite destroying the capital stock, generated windfall profits that increased the capital share.
    Keywords: Inequality; Factor shares; Event study; Economic history; Institutions
    JEL: D33 E02 N00
    Date: 2020–05–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1335&r=all
  2. By: Castañeda Garza, Diego; Bengtsson, Erik (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper, building on new archival research, presents the first comprehensive estimates of income inequality in Mexico before 1950.We usethe social tables method of combining census information with group-level income data to reconstructMexican incomesand their distributionfor four benchmark years, 1895,1910,1930 and 1940.The Gini coefficient for incomes is 0.48in 1895, 0.47in 1910, 0.41in 1930 and 0.51in 1940.The evidence points to inequality as a multi-faceted phenomenon. Mexican incomeinequalitywas shaped by the economic policies of the various regimes, as well as the growth possibilities of various sectors. The revolution of the 1910s entailed reforms(of the labormarket and of land ownership) which equalized incomes, but when these reforms were substantially reversed, inequality rose again.The developments are in line with a new branch of the literature that recognizesthe importance for inequality dynamics of land ownership.The levelsof inequality in the long term display ratherstrong persistence, in line with institutionalist arguments.
    Keywords: Income inequality; Income distribution; Socialtables; Mexico; Mexican revolution; Political economy
    JEL: D63 E01 N36 O15
    Date: 2020–03–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0212&r=all
  3. By: Erik, Bengtsson (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Olsson, Mats (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Svensson, Patrick (Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
    Abstract: This paper maps social structure, poverty, wealth and economic inequality in Stockholm from 1650 to 1750. We begin by establishing the social structure, using census data and other sources. To study wealth and poverty, the main sources are a sample from the wealth tax of 1715, and probate inventory samples from 1650, 1700 and 1750. These provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the living standards of both the poor and rich. Stockholm in this period was a starkly unequal city, with the top decile of wealth holders owning about 90 per cent of total wealth. We argue that this inequality was the result of deliberate policy – the Mercantilist conviction of “just rewards” for each and every one according to his or her standing. The case of Stockholm shows the need for the historical inequality literature to consider class and power relations to understand the determinants of inequality.
    Keywords: wealth; inequality; social stratification; Sweden; Stockholm; probate inventories
    JEL: D31 I31 N13 N33 P16
    Date: 2019–12–12
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0210&r=all
  4. By: Bengtsson, Erik (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Svensson, Patrick (Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
    Abstract: This paper presents new estimates of the living standards amongthe rural labouring classesinSweden from 1750 to 1900. Starting witha database of more than 1,000 probate inventories of rural landless and semi-landless peoplefrom the benchmark years 1750, 1800, 1850 and 1900, we study the development for croftersin particular. We measuretheir assets and debts in great detail, mapping the development of material living standards over time. We show that the typically used real wageapproach to living standards gives onlya partialimpression of the development of proletarian living standards.Above all,the decline ofSwedish living standards from 1750 to 1800 is overestimated because of overreliance on grain prices for the CPI.We show the advantages of using probate inventories for studying living standards, since they givea composite estimate of households’ material conditions, no matter whatcombinations of wage-labour, subsistence work and by-employment are used.This has relevance not only for Sweden, but for studies of historical living standards in general.
    Keywords: living standards; wealth; poverty; inequality; probate inventories; Sweden; rural workers
    JEL: I32 N13
    Date: 2020–05–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0213&r=all
  5. By: Ljungberg, Jonas (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom pretends that currency devaluations contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s. This paper examines the impact of nominal exchange rates on foreign trade of 14 industrialized countries 1929-1939. If the idea of competitive devaluation holds, one should expect an increase in exports, along with a decline in imports, to trading partners against which the exchange rate epreciated. Tests show that the beggar-thy-neighbour effects of exchange rate adjustments were at most marginal. Moreover, there is evidence that currency depreciations were expansionary not only for countries that devalued but for the international economy as a whole.
    Keywords: interwar; Europe; exchange rates; trade; depression
    JEL: E31 E52 F31 N14
    Date: 2020–03–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0211&r=all
  6. By: Harrison, Mark (Department of Economics and CAGE, University of Warwick ; CREES, University of Birmingham; CEPR)
    Abstract: In two world wars, both sides committed substantial resources to economic warfare. Before the event, influential thinkers believed that the threat of blockade (and later of bombing) would deter aggression. When war broke out, they hoped that economic action might bring the war to a close without the need for a conclusive military struggle. Why were they disappointed, and what was the true relationship between economic warfare and combat between military forces? The answer to this question depends on the effects of economic warfare, which can be understood only after considering the adversary’s adaptation. When the full range of adaptations is considered, it becomes clear that economic warfare and combat were usually strategic complements; they acted together and did not substitute for each other. The paper examines this question both in breadth and more narrowly, focusing on the Allied air campaign against Germany in World War II. There are implications for history and policy.
    Keywords: blockade ; economic sanctions ; economic warfare ; strategy ; substitution ; war of attrition ; World War I ; World War II JEL codes: H56 ; N44
    Date: 2020
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wrk:warwec:1263&r=all
  7. By: Ranestad, Kristin (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: State reforms adopted in the 1680s prevented the largest copperworksin the Oldenburg Monarchy, Røros, from shutdown. They appear to be a forerunner in Europe. The changes ensured supply deliveries and regular wage payments through spread of ownership, delegating more responsibilities to the Director and managers and introducing complex control mechanisms and state monitoring of the accounts and daily tasks. Why were the changes adopted, and why were the regulations formed this way? The answer partly lies in that miners, smelters and farmers organised themselves in an earlyform of work unionand demanded regular wage payments and better work terms. The Crown established two Commissions consisting of state officials who meticulously went through systems and accounts and largely considered the employees’ demands. The increased state involvement was related to the Kings Frederick III and Christian V’s economic interests in Røros who were inspired by mercantilist thoughts of the time.
    Keywords: Norwegian copper mining; early modern period; stakeholders; management; joint-stock companies; state reforms
    JEL: N13 N33 N44 N54 N84
    Date: 2020–05–12
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0214&r=all
  8. By: Pencavel, John (Stanford University)
    Abstract: Income inequality has been lower in periods when trade unionism has been strong. Using observations on wages by occupation, by geography, and by gender in collective bargaining contracts from the 1940s to the 1970s, patterns in movements of wage differentials are revealed. As wages increased, some contracts maintained relative wage differentials constant, some maintained absolute differences in wages constant, others combined these two patterns, and some did not reveal an obvious pattern. The patterns persisted even as price inflation increased in the 1970s. The dominant pattern implies a reduction in inequality as usually measured.
    Keywords: income inequality, wage differentials, bargaining, trade unions
    JEL: J31 J51 N32
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13175&r=all
  9. By: Gabriele Galati; Jan Kakes; Richhild Moessner
    Abstract: Credit restrictions were used as a monetary policy instrument in the Netherlands from the 1960s to the early 1990s. We study the effects of credit restrictions being active on the balance sheet structure of banks and other financial institutions. We find that banks mainly responded to credit restrictions by making adjustments to the liability side of their balance sheets, particularly by increasing the proportion of long-term funding. Responses on the asset side were limited, while part of the banking sector even increased lending after the installment of a restriction. These results suggest that banks and financial institutions responded by switching to long-term funding to meet the restriction and shield their lending business. Arguably, the credit restrictions were therefore still effective in reaching their main goal, i.e. containing money growth.
    Keywords: Credit restrictions; Monetary policy; Macroprudential policy
    JEL: E42 E51 E52 E58 G28
    Date: 2020–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:679&r=all
  10. By: Leopoldo TORNAROLLI
    Abstract: While Latin America has historically been considered a region of very high inequality, the performance of most Latin American countries in terms of reduction of income inequality has been remarkable good in the first decade of this century. Given that those improvements took place in a context of rising inequality in most of the world, the evolution of income inequality in the region has caught the attention of researchers and policy makers around the world.Taking advantage of a large database of comparable microdata from household surveys, this article updates the evidence on the trends of income inequality in all Latin American countries for the period 1992-2015. It also provides an analysis of how the distinctive evolution of income inequality in this century in Latin America has changed the position of the different countries of the region in both, the global distribution of income in the world and the global distribution of income in Latin America. Finally, the paper decomposes the evolution of income inequality in several countries of the region, discussing the role played by several factors on that evolution.
    Keywords: Amérique latine
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2018–08–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:avg:wpaper:en8832&r=all
  11. By: Alina K. Bartscher (University of Bonn); Moritz Kuhn (University of Bonn); Moritz Schularick (University of Bonn); Ulrike I. Steins (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: inequality and financial fragility. We exploit a new household-level dataset that covers the joint distributions of debt, income, and wealth in the United States over the past seven decades. The data show that increased borrowing by middle-class families with low income growth played a central role in rising indebtedness. Debt-to-income ratios have risen most dramatically for households between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the income distribution. While their income growth was low, middle-class families borrowed against the sizable housing wealth gains from rising home prices. Home equity borrowing accounts for about half of the increase in U.S. household debt between the 1970s and 2007. The resulting debt increase made balance sheets more sensitive to income and house price fluctuations and turned the American middle class into the epicenter of growing financial fragility.
    Keywords: household debt, inequality, household portfolios, financial fragility
    JEL: E21 E44 D14 D31
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:thk:wpaper:inetwp124&r=all
  12. By: Hubert BONIN
    Abstract: Une audacieuse comparaison est établie entre le lancement d’une mobilisation économique (industrielle, logistique, financière) à l’automne 1914 pour repousser l’offensive allemande et la mise sur pied d’une économie organisée au printemps 2020 afin d’entraver la progression du virus Covid-19. Dans les deux cas, des systèmes productifs sectoriels ou régionaux sont construits, des firmes-pivots affirment leur mission d’animation d’un réseau de sociétés, des processus de financement sont imaginés.
    Keywords: Guerre économique; centralisation de la production; urgence; réactivité; pluralité des fronts de combat; dépendance industrielle
    JEL: M21 N14 N44 N64 N84 P11
    Date: 2020
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:grt:bdxewp:2020-07&r=all
  13. By: Gregory Clark
    Abstract: In societies where surnames are inherited from parents, we can use these names to estimate rates of intergenerational mobility. This paper explains how to make such estimates, and illustrates their use in pre-industrial England and modern Chile and India. These surname estimates have the advantage that they require much less data than traditional parent?child estimates. They are also more robust to errors in status data. Thus, they can be used to estimate social mobility rates in early societies such as England 1300?1800, or in less-developed societies now.
    Keywords: surnames, Intergenerational Mobility, long-run mobility, underlying mobility, group-level mobility
    Date: 2020
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp-2020-28&r=all
  14. By: Li, Jinhu (Deakin University); Menon, Nidhiya (Brandeis University)
    Abstract: Few studies have examined the "echo effect" of early-life shocks related to prenatal malnutrition, that is, whether the legacy of such shocks is transmitted to the next generation. This study addresses this gap by leveraging extreme malnutrition during the Great Leap Forward famine in China, and by examining the intergenerational consequences of the famine on those who were not directly impacted. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we estimate the causal effect of the famine on a wide range of outcomes of children of mothers who were exposed in-utero including income, education, employment, and intergenerational income mobility; indicators that have not been considered in detail in the literature. We further contribute by using a refined measure of famine exposure at the prefecture level in rural areas, and by exploiting rich data on those directly affected and their children. We find that on average, the famine had negative echo effects on second-generation outcomes. These echo effects are primarily due to the adverse impacts on daughters, perhaps reflecting a combination of positive selection of sons born to mothers exposed to prenatal malnutrition during the famine and cultural aspects such as son preference. Our results withstand a battery of robustness and specification checks.
    Keywords: foetal origins, great leap forward famine, malnutrition, intergenerational impacts, labour market, China
    JEL: I15 J62 I32 P36 N45
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13171&r=all
  15. By: Bago, Jean-Louis; Akakpo, Koffi; Rherrad, Imad; Ouédraogo, Ernest
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on housing bubbles timing, volatility spillover and bubbles contagion between Japan and its economics partners, namely, the United States, the Eurozone, and the United Kingdom. First, we apply a generalized sup ADF (GSADF) test developed by Phillips et al. (2015) to quarterly price-to-rent ratio from 1970Q1 to 2018Q4 to detect explosive behaviors in housing prices. Second, we analyze the volatility spillover in housing prices between Japan and its economic partners using the multivariate time-varying DCC-GARCH model developed by Engle (2002). Third, we assess bubbles contagion using the non-parametric model with time-varying coefficients developed by Greenaway-McGrevy and Phillips (2016). We document two historical bubble episodes from 1970 to 2018 in the Japan’s housing market. Moreover, we find evidence of volatility spillover and bubbles contagion between Japan’s real estate market and its most important economic partners during several periods.
    Keywords: Bubble, Contagion, Real estate, Japan, DCC-GARCH
    JEL: C14 G12
    Date: 2020–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:100098&r=all
  16. By: Bailey, Michael; Kuchler, Theresa; Russel, Dominic; State, Bogdan; Stroebel, Johannes
    Abstract: We use aggregated data from Facebook to study the structure of social networks across European regions. Social connectedness declines strongly in geographic distance and at country borders. Historical borders and unions — such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, and East/West Germany — shape present-day social connectedness over and above today’s political boundaries. All else equal, social connectedness is stronger between regions with residents of similar ages and education levels, as well as between those that share a language and religion. In contrast, region-pairs with dissimilar incomes tend to be more connected, likely due to increased migration from poorer to richer regions. We find more socially connected region-pairs to have more passenger train trips between them, even after controlling for distance and travel time. We also find that regions with a higher share of connections to other countries have higher rates of trust in the E.U. and lower rates of voting for anti-E.U. political parties.
    Date: 2020–04–28
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:osf:socarx:3wh67&r=all
  17. By: Rangan Gupta (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa); Xin Sheng (Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, CM1 1SQ, United Kingdom); Qiang Ji (College of Business, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States)
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the role played by disaggregated oil shocks in driving real estate uncertainty (REU) over the monthly period of 1975:02 to 2017:12, based on impulse response functions generated from the local projection method. We find that the oil-specific consumption demand shock is statistically the strongest predictor of higher future REU, followed by the significant negative impact from the aggregate supply shock especially for long-run REU. While the oil inventory demand shock has a short-lived positive impact on REU, global economic activity shock virtually play no role in driving the same. Our results have important implications for policymakers and investors.
    Keywords: Oil shocks, real estate uncertainty, local projection model, impulse response functions
    JEL: C22 Q41 R30
    Date: 2020–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pre:wpaper:202035&r=all
  18. By: Karen Clay; Joshua A. Lewis; Edson R. Severnini; Xiao Wang
    Abstract: This paper studies how better access to public health insurance affects infant mortality during pandemics. Our analysis combines cross-state variation in mandated eligibility for Medicaid with two influenza pandemics — the 1957-58 "Asian Flu" pandemic and the 1968-69 "Hong Kong Flu" — that arrived shortly before and after the program's introduction. Exploiting heterogeneity in the underlying severity of these two shocks across counties, we find no relationship between Medicaid eligibility and pandemic infant mortality during the 1957-58 outbreak. After Medicaid implementation, we find that better access to insurance in high-eligibility states substantially reduced infant mortality during the 1968-69 pandemic. The reductions in pandemic infant mortality are too large to be attributable solely to new Medicaid recipients, suggesting that the expansion in health insurance coverage mitigated disease transmission among the broader population.
    JEL: I13 I18 N32 N52
    Date: 2020–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27120&r=all
  19. By: Louison Cahen-Fourot (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Nelo Magalhães (LADYSS - Laboratoire Dynamiques Sociales et Recomposition des Espaces - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - UPD7 - Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7)
    Abstract: This paper aims at integrating macroeconomic and institutional analyses of long run dynamics of capitalism with material flow analysis. We investigate the links between accumulation and socio-metabolic regimes by studying French capitalism from a material perspective since 1948. We characterize its social metabolism both in production-and consumption-based approaches. We show that the periodization of accumulation regimes in terms of Fordism and Neoliberalism translates into material terms. The offshore materiality of Neoliberalism partly substitutes for and partly complements the more domestic material-ity inherited from Fordism. The transition phase between the two socio-metabolic regimes clearly corresponds to the emergence of the offshoring-financialization nexus of French capitalism indicating the shift from the fordist accumulation regime to the neoliberal accumulation regime. Acknowledging that socio-metabolic regimes have their own logic, we highlight strong inter-linkages between accumulation and material dynamics and discuss how materials may be instrumental in shaping accumulation regimes. This work therefore illustrates the relevance of combining institutional macroeconomics with methods and approaches derived from Ecological Economics.
    Keywords: Material Flow Analysis,Material footprint,Socio-metabolic regime,Financialization,Offshoring,Accumulation regime
    Date: 2020–04–27
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-02554906&r=all
  20. By: Bracke, Philippe; Tenreyro, Silvana
    Abstract: Using the universe of housing transactions in England and Wales in the last twenty years, we document a robust pattern of history dependence in housing mar- kets. Sale prices and selling probabilities today are affected by aggregate house prices prevailing in the period in which properties were previously bought. We investigate the causes of history dependence, with its quantitative implications for the post-crisis recovery of the housing market. To do so we complement our analysis with administrative data on mortgages and online house listings, which we match to actual sales. We find that high leverage in the pre-crisis period and anchoring (or reference dependence) both contributed to the collapse and slow recovery of the volume of housing transactions. We find no asymmetric effects of anchoring to previous prices on current transactions; in other words, loss aversion does not appear to play a role over and above simple anchoring.
    Keywords: Housing market; Fluctuations; down-payment effects; Reference dependence; Anchoring; Loss aversion
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2020–01–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ehl:lserod:103079&r=all
  21. By: Chu, Angus C.; Wang, Xilin
    Abstract: According to Werner Sombart's classic text Luxury and Capitalism, the status-seeking behavior of individuals may facilitate the development of capitalism and give rise to an early industrialization. In this study, we develop a growth-theoretic framework to formalize this hypothesis by introducing a status-seeking preference into the Schumpeterian growth model of endogenous takeoff. Then, we use the model to explore how this cultural preference affects the transition of an economy from pre-industrial stagnation to modern economic growth. We find that a stronger preference for status seeking causes an earlier takeoff and a positive effect on economic growth in the short run but an overall ambiguous effect on growth in the long run. We also calibrate the model to data to perform a quantitative analysis and find that a stronger status-seeking preference reduces the steady-state equilibrium growth rate under reasonable parameter values. Therefore, the effects of status-seeking behaviors evolve across different stages of economic development.
    Keywords: status seeking; endogenous takeoff; innovation
    JEL: O3 O4
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:100023&r=all
  22. By: Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary non-civil conflict in Africa. Exploiting variations across artificial regions (i.e., grids of 50x50km) within an ethnicity's historical homeland, we document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are concentrated close to historical ethnic borders. Following a theory-based instrumental variable approach, which generates a plausibly exogenous ethno-spatial partition of Africa, we find that grid cells with historical ethnic borders have 27 percentage points higher probability of conflict and 7.9 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. We uncover several key underlying mechanisms: competition for agricultural land, population pressure, cultural similarity and weak property rights.
    Date: 2020–05–14
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:osf:africa:uqgxv&r=all
  23. By: Becker, Sascha O. (Monash University, University of Warwick, CAGE, CEPR, CESifo, and ROA); Cinnirella, Francesco (University of Bergamo, Danish Institute for Advanced Study, CAGE, CESifo, and CEPR)
    Abstract: We provide, for the first time, a detailed and comprehensive overview of the demography of more than 50,000 towns, villages, and manors in 1871 Prussia. We study religion, literacy, fertility, and group segregation by location type (town, village, and manor). We find that Jews live predominantly in towns. Villages and manors are substantially segregated by denomination, whereas towns are less segregated. Yet, we find relatively lower levels of segregation by literacy. Regression analyses with county-fixed effects show that a larger share of Protestants is associated with higher literacy rates across all location types. A larger share of Jews relative to Catholics is not significantly associated with higher literacy in towns, but it is in villages and manors. Finally, a larger share of Jews is associated with lower fertility in towns, which is not explained by differences in literacy.
    Keywords: Religion ; Segregation ; Literacy ; Fertility ; Prussia JEL codes: J13 ; J15 ; I21 ; N33 ; Z12
    Date: 2020
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wrk:warwec:1264&r=all
  24. By: Rémi BAZILLIER
    Abstract: We document the local impact of two alternative mining techniques: artisanal (labor intensive, managed in commons) and industrial (mechanized, privatized). Our identification strategy exploits two sources of variation: geological endowments in gold in Burkina Faso and changes in the global gold price. We show that artisanal mining has a positive local economic impact. Opening an industrial mine, in contrast, has no impact. Thus, we provide an innovative quantification of the impact of artisanal mines (and industrial mines opening). We also contribute to the debate on the relative advantages of private versus common management of a resource.
    Keywords: Burkina Faso
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2018–08–14
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:avg:wpaper:en8855&r=all
  25. By: Servaas Storm (Delft University of Technology)
    Abstract: Questions about the decline of Social democracy continue to excite wide interest, even in the era of Covid-19. This paper takes a fresh look at topic. It argues that social democratic politics faces a fundamental dilemma: short-term practical relevance requires it to accept, at least partly, the very socio-economic conditions which it purports to change in the longer run. Bhaduri’s (1993) essay which analyzes social democracy’s attempts to navigate this dilemma by means of ‘a nationalization of consumption’ and Keynesian demand management, was written before the rise of New (‘Third Way’) Labor and before the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8. This paper provides an update, arguing that New Labor’s attempt to rescue ‘welfare capitalism’ entailed a new solution to the dilemma facing social democracy based on an expansion of employment, i.e. an all-out emphasis on “jobs, jobs, jobs”. The flip-side (or social cost) of the emphasis on job growth has been a stagnation of productivity growth—which, in turn, has put the ‘welfare state’ under increasing pressure of fiscal austerity. The popular discontent and rise of ‘populist’ political parties is closely related to the failure of New Labor to navigate social democracy’s dilemma.
    Keywords: social democracy, wage-led growth, profit-led growth, NAIRU economics, Europe 1945- , New Labor.
    JEL: E6 E10 E12 N10 P11
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:thk:wpaper:inetwp122&r=all
  26. By: Petra Moser
    Abstract: Feeding the world’s growing population is one of the most critical policy challenges for the 21st century. With tightening constraints on water, arable land, and other natural resources, agricultural innovation is quickly becoming the most promising path meet the nutrient needs for future generations. At the same time, the increasing variability in the world’s climate intensifies the need for developing new crops that can tolerate extreme weather. Despite the urgency of this task, there is an active discussion on the returns to public and private spending in agricultural R&D, and many of the world’s wealthier countries have scaled back their share of GDP devoted to agricultural R&D. Dwindling public support leaves universities, which, historically, have been a major source of agricultural innovation, increasingly dependent on funding from industry, with uncertain effects on agricultural research. All of these factors create an urgent need for systematic empirical evidence on the forces that drive research and innovation in agriculture. This book aims to provides such evidence through economic analyses of the sources of agricultural innovation, the challenges of measuring productivity, the role of universities and their interactions with industry, and emerging mechanisms to fund agricultural R&D.
    JEL: N5 O3 O32 O33 Q16 Q18 Q24 Q25 Q54 Q55
    Date: 2020–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27080&r=all

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