nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2022‒08‒22
thirteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Northumbria University

  1. Karl Marx´s Theory of Capitalism Exposition, Critique, and Appraisal By Escudé, Guillermo J.
  2. The great retreat: pastoralism in the arid tropics By Roy, Tirthankar
  3. Human capital in Europe, 1830s – 1930s: towards a new spatial dataset By Gabriele Cappelli; Leonardo Ridolfi; Michelangelo Vasta; Johannes Westberg
  4. The executions of French soldiers during the Great War: A quantitative study. By Olivier Guillot; Antoine Parent
  5. Living standards in settler South Africa, 1865-1920 By Johan Fourie; Kris Inwood; Martine Mariotti
  6. The Digital Transition for a Sustainable Mobility Regime? A Long-Run Perspective. By Ralph Hippe; Damien Demailly; Claude Diebolt
  7. Series largas de VAB y empleo regional por sectores, 1955-2020. Actualización de RegData-Sect hasta 2020 By Ángel de la Fuente; Pep Ruiz Aguirre
  8. Elites and Health Infrastructure Improvements in Industrializing Regimes By Tommy Krieger
  9. Labor Market Tightness during WWI and the Postwar Recession of 1920-1921 By Haelim Anderson; Jin-Wook Chang
  10. Sen and Sraffa: Description as Theory By Syed Mohib Ali
  11. EPISODIO CÍCLICO Y CAMBIO ESTRUCTURAL. EL PLAN DE ESTABILIZACIÓN Y DESARROLLO, 1958-1962 By Raúl García Heras; Daniel Heymann; Gustavo Montero
  12. Impacto económico a largo plazo de los huracanes Iván y Dean en Jamaica By Belkis Enidian Romero Pino
  13. The Index of Economic Well-being for New Brunswick, 1981-2019 By Andrew Sharpe

  1. By: Escudé, Guillermo J.
    Abstract: This book gives a clear synthesis of Marx’s theory of Capitalism and its relation with economic theory as it evolved over the course of the last 300 years. It places Marx’s though in perspective, comparing it with the main aspects of the economic theories that preceded it, including not only the Classical Adam Smith and David Ricardo but also economists like Cantillon, Turgot, and Ramsay that Marx chose to ignore with respect to the crucial issue of entrepreneurship because it was incompatible with his Theory of Surplus Value. But the book also contrasts Marx’s theory with Walras’, the Neoclassical economist whose influence on contemporary mainstream economic theory was most lasting. The analytical aspects of Marx’s theory are rigorously expressed by means of the technique of Input-Output Analysis, which is explained from the most elementary level in order to make the book self-contained. Each of the multiple topics of Marx’s complex and refined theory is explained in detail, including his theory of money, the heterogeneity in kinds of labor and in productive techniques, the turnover of capital, Simple and Extended Reproduction, his theory of the economic cycle, his theory of ground rent, his theory of productive and unproductive labor, and his view of the main tendencies of capitalist society. The book is structured in accordance with the development process of Marx’s thought. Hence, it begins with the life project he generated in his youth and drove him from the study of history and philosophy to that of Political Economy, on the one hand, and political praxis, on the other. Hence, Parts I, II, and IV of the book respectively address A) the philosophical-methodological foundations of his scientific endeavor (his Historical Materialism); B) his scientific theory of capitalist society as expressed in Capital; and C) his political thought and praxis, which had enormous effects over the course of the 20th century. Part III of the book addresses our critique of Marx’s theory of Capitalism. Beyond our criticisms, however, the book shows that Marx made important contributions to the comprehension of the functioning of Capitalism in the more conventional part of his theory, which we denominate ‘exoteric’ in order to contrast it with his ‘esoteric’ Theory of Surplus Value which was the foundation of his view of the exploitation of wage labor in Capitalism.
    Keywords: Marx's theory of capitalism; Marx's theory of surplus value and its critique; Comparison of Marx's and Walras' economic theories; Historical Materialism; Marx's political project and its critique; appraisal of Marx's influence in the light of the world events of the 20th century.
    JEL: B00 B31 B40 B51
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Roy, Tirthankar
    Abstract: The decline of pastoralism in the arid tropics during the twentieth century, generating livelihood stress and violent conflicts, remains an under-researched subject in economic history. Although political stances were sometimes discriminatory towards pastoralists, the decline was largely the unintended consequence of four factors: colonial legacy, property right, development policy, and technological shifts. The paper discusses these four factors and shows that each one of these drivers represented a response to the challenges of development of the world’s dry tropics.
    Keywords: tropical; pastoralism; transhumance; drought; development
    JEL: N10 N50 N55 N57
    Date: 2022–07
  3. By: Gabriele Cappelli; Leonardo Ridolfi; Michelangelo Vasta; Johannes Westberg
    Abstract: The literature on the causes of economic growth has emphasized the major role played by human capital accumulation. This survey shows that education and human capital are at the centre stage of the historical literature on industrialization and long-term economic development. Our contribution is threefold: first, we review the literature on the determinants of educational levels focusing on Europe in the period 1830 – 1930. We find that the lack of fine-grain spatial and (at the same time) harmonized data is preventing research on some important aspects of rising education. Secondly, we provide a preliminary taxonomy of European school acts and reforms in the 19th and early-20th century. Finally, we present the first version of a dataset under construction, which aims at providing spatial data covering gross enrolment rates and literacy across European regions from c. 1830 to 1930. Our preliminary results show that, in c. 1850, educational clusters appear to have often crossed national borders. By contrast, the effect of national institutions and regulations seems to have become an important determinant of schooling (and literacy) rates on the eve of the 20th century.
    Keywords: Education, literacy, Europe, regional, comparative.
    JEL: N30 O43 O52
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Olivier Guillot; Antoine Parent
    Abstract: This paper explores the issue of the executions of French soldiers during the Great War in a quantitative perspective. Based on the “Shot in the First World War” database of the French Ministry of Defense, we first describe the characteristics of these soldiers who were sentenced to death by a council of war or summarily executed, and examine whether their profile has changed over the war years. This statistical portrait is then complemented by two regression analyses. The first one focuses on the temporal distribution of executions. Specifically, we investigate whether the variations in the number of executions over time were related to the intensity of engagements. The second analysis aims to explain the inter-county differences in the proportion of soldiers executed. Two main findings emerge from our study. First, the profile of the soldiers shot in 1914 was quite different from that of those who were executed in the subsequent years: they were more often farmers, enlisted in the infantry, without previous convictions. By contrast, the soldiers executed in 1917, the year of the mutinies, did not greatly differ in their characteristics from those shot in 1916. Secondly, the results of our regressions suggest that the vast majority of the executed soldiers were “poilus” like the others who found themselves before a firing squad for having committed a fault in a moment of weakness, often after being involved in particularly bloody fighting, and sometimes under the influence of alcohol. Their acts were probably, in most cases, much more driven by survival instinct than by pacifist motives or other political considerations.
    Keywords: Military executions; World War I; French Army; Military History.
    JEL: N44 K14 K42 D74
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Johan Fourie (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Kris Inwood (Department of Economics, Guelph University); Martine Mariotti (Department of Economics, Australian National University)
    Abstract: We construct an anthropometric measure of living standards for White South Africans covering 55 years using five different military sources. Accounting for different selection across the forces, we find that prior to industrialisation, White South African males were amongst the tallest in the world. Rural living standards declined in response to natural disasters in the 1880s and 90s with those with the lowest living standards moving off the land and into the cities. We find a slight improvement in living standards after 1900 across all regions and occupations. During industrialisation, White males in South Africa continued to exhibit the highest living standards in the world as represented by their stature. Convergence to other nations in the early twentieth century shows, however, that while there may have been no industrialisation penalty, industrialisation did not lift living standards the way it did elsewhere.
    Keywords: anthropometric, South Africa, stature, height, living standards
    JEL: N37
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Ralph Hippe; Damien Demailly; Claude Diebolt
    Abstract: New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been praised to massively transform our economies, and to be the foundation of a new and more sustainable mobility regime. But will they? And if so, how could ICTs help building it? While the newest ICTs such as the internet are in some ways unique, in other respects they have historical predecessors (such as the telegraph and the telephone) that are worth considering. This paper reviews the literature and shows that ‘older’ ICTs have transformed our mobility regime in significant and unpredictable ways. In particular, they have supported and made more efficient new transport modes, contributed to the geographical concentration and dispersion trends of economic activities and changed how and how much we connect to our families and friends. ICTs can help building more sustainable mobility e.g., by making transport more efficient or reducing mobility demand in some cases, but overall the interactions between mobility and ICTs turn out to be important, diverse and complex.
    Keywords: Green deal, ICT, Digital transition, Mobility, Technological transformation, Innovation.
    JEL: N10 N90 O14 O18 O33 R41 R42
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Ángel de la Fuente; Pep Ruiz Aguirre
    Abstract: En esta nota se describe brevemente la última actualización del módulo sectorial de la base de datos RegData FEDEA-BBVA (véase de la Fuente 2017 y 2020 y de la Fuente y Ruiz Aguirre, 2020). En este módulo se desagregan por sectores las series regionales de empleo (ocupados y asalariados), VAB a precios corrientes y constantes y remuneración de asalariados del módulo central de RegData y se construyen deflactores regionales del VAB para cada sector, trabajando con una desagregación en seis grandes ramas productivas (extensible de forma tentativa a ocho).
    Date: 2022–08
  8. By: Tommy Krieger
    Abstract: We collect information about more than 5,000 Prussian politicians, digitize administrative data on the provision of health-promoting public goods, and gather local-level information on workers’ movements to study why elites in industrializing countries implement policies that improve the health of the poor. Exploiting county-level variation in elite structure, we present OLS and IV estimates, suggesting that elites improve access to health services due to pressure exerted by workers’ movements and that they voluntarily implement policies that prevent disease outbreaks. An analysis of two rollcall votes substantiates the findings of the county-level analysis.
    Keywords: distribution of power, elite structure, industrializing countries, political economy of health-promoting policies, Prussian history, redistribution, workers’ movements
    JEL: H11 H42 H75 I15 N33 O43 P16
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Haelim Anderson; Jin-Wook Chang
    Abstract: The U.S. economy entered the 1920s with a robust job market and high inflation but fell into a recession following the Federal Reserve's discount rate hikes to tame inflation. Using a newly constructed data set, we study labor market dynamics during this period. We find that labor markets were tight when the Federal Reserve began tightening monetary policy, but they became loose following the tightening as the recession deepened. The demand-supply imbalance in the labor market was driven by a sharp decline in the number of job openings. We also show that the recession had an uneven effect on labor markets across sectors and by gender.
    Keywords: Inflation; Recession of 1920-1921; Vacancies; Unemployment; Labor Market Dynamics
    JEL: E32 E24 J23 J63
    Date: 2022–08–01
  10. By: Syed Mohib Ali
    Abstract: The article engages with Amartya Sen’s interpretation of Piero Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (PCMC). Sen has the distinction of highlighting the philosophical and methodological aspects of Sraffa’s work. In this regard, Sen has highlighted the role of counterfactuals in economic theory and the role of value theory in political economy as a matter of ‘social communication’. On these two issues, there is considerable discussion in recent Sraffian scholarship that is concerned with the significance of Sraffa’s critique of marginalist theory and the rehabilitation of classical economics. The article scrutinizes Sen’s interpretation of PCMC and highlights several noteworthy contributions and insights. While being sympathetic to the substantive points of criticism entailed by PCMC, Sen misunderstands Sraffa’s ‘critique of economic theory’ and the reasoning involved in such a critique. A critical reading reveals that Sen’s interpretation of Sraffa is more reflective of his own work on the ‘choice basis of description’ than an appreciation of Sraffa’s theoretical project. Despite the misunderstandings, the article highlights the similarities in vision between Sen’s interpretation of Sraffa and Sraffa’s revival of classical economics. By undertaking such a critical reading, the article raises important issues about method and the scope of economic enquiries
    Date: 2022–06
  11. By: Raúl García Heras (Instituto Interdisciplinario de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - UBA - CONICET); Daniel Heymann (Instituto Interdisciplinario de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - UBA - CONICET); Gustavo Montero (Instituto Interdisciplinario de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - UBA - CONICET)
    Abstract: El truncado período presidencial de Arturo Frondizi marcó un hito en la evolución económica del país. En su transcurso, junto con intensos y por momentos turbulentos vaivenes macroeconómicos, se produjeron cambios en la estructura de producción y el elenco de los actores económicos salientes, cuyos efectos perduraron en los años siguientes. Este trabajo analiza la naturaleza de los procesos que determinaron las principales dinámicas económicas, y su interacción con un también agitado devenir político. Se trata particularmente de ilustrar cómo percepciones y conductas de los agentes fueron configurando la evolución de la economía. Para ello, al margen de la información macroeconómica cuantitativa, se presta especial atención a las expresiones de protagonistas y observadores contemporáneos.
    Keywords: Estabilización económica, Desarrollo económico, Cambio Estructural, Argentina, Presidencia Arturo Frondizi
    JEL: N16 N66
    Date: 2021–05
  12. By: Belkis Enidian Romero Pino
    Keywords: control, crecimiento, desastres, naturales, sintético.
    Date: 2022–06–30
  13. By: Andrew Sharpe
    Abstract: This report presents estimates of the Index of Economic Well-being (IEWB) and its four domains (consumption flows, stocks of wealth, economic equality and economic security) for New Brunswick from 1981 to 2019. We find that the IEWB for New Brunswick increased at an average annual rate of 1.34 percent per year over the period. Among the four domains that compose the IEWB, consumption and equality have had positive growth rates, while the wealth domain and the security domain have had small falls. The consumer domain had the highest growth rate (4.31 percent per year) and the equality domain had a growth rate of 1.81 percent per year over the period. The wealth domain declined by 0.24 percent per year and the security domain declined by 0.27 percent per year between 1981-2019. In 2019, among the provinces, New Brunswick is in ninth place, but the province stands out with the second highest ranking in terms of equality. In terms of growth rates, the province had the third highest growth rate in the IEWB between 1981-2019. It also had the second highest growth rate among the provinces in the consumption domain and the best growth rate in the equality domain.
    Keywords: Index of Economic Well-being, New Brunswick
    Date: 2021–10

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