nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2023‒03‒06
twenty-two papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Northumbria University

  1. The collapse of the gold standard in Africa: money and colonialism in the interwar period By Gardner, Leigh
  2. Dating business cycles in the United Kingdom, 1700–2010 By Broadberry, Stephen; Chadha, Jagjit S.; Lennard, Jason; Thomas, Ryland
  3. España | Series largas de agregados económicos y demográficos regionales, hasta 2021 By Angel De la Fuente
  4. Six Decades of Economic Research at the Bank of England By Juan Acosta; Beatrice Cherrier; François Claveau; Clément Fontan; Aurélien Goutsmedt; Francesco Sergi
  5. Losing height: measuring the regional loss of human capital from the Republican exile to Mexico By Sanchez Alonso, Blanca; Santiago Caballero, Carlos
  6. Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution By Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim
  7. The Middle-Eastern marriage pattern? Malthusian dynamics in nineteenth-century Egypt By Kumon, Yuzuru; Saleh, Mohamed
  8. Productive or Extractive Periphery? Russian Poland and Timber Exports to Germany in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries By Jawad Daheur
  9. Series largas de algunos agregados económicos y demográficos regionales: Actualización de RegData hasta 2021. (RegData y RegData Dem versión 6.2-2021) By Angel de la Fuente
  10. Fritz John's Equation in Mechanism Design By Alfred Galichon
  11. Exchange Rates, Tariffs and Prices in 1930s’ Britain By Chadha, J. S.; Lennard, J.; Solomou, S.; Thomas, R.
  12. De los ciclos de no especialización a la era del azúcar: Elementos de historia de cuba en un largo período (1492–1898) – Parte 1 By Rémy Herrera
  13. Peripheralization through mass housing urbanization in Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Paris By Kockelkorn, Anne; Schmid, Christian; Streule, Monika; Wong, Kit Ping
  14. Political Campaigning, and Racial Discrimination in Arrests for Drugs. By Francesco Barilari; Diego Zambiasi
  15. Historical Estimates of Imputed Rental for Owner-occupied Dwellings for the United Kingdom By James Sefton; Martin R. Weale
  16. THE MORAL FOUNDATIONS OF CAPITALISM. An Investigation of Adam Smith Pessimism By Roberto Censolo
  17. Schulden und Staatlichkeit: Überlegungen zur Politischen Ökonomie des Schuldenstaats By Klump, Rainer
  18. The end of negative market integration: 60 years of free movement of goods litigation in the EU (1961–2020) By Zglinski, Jan
  19. Rezension - Harold James: Schockmomente. Eine Weltgeschichte von Inflation und Globalisierung 1850 bis heute By Plumpe, Werner
  20. Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment: Thirty Years On By MacLeod, W. Bentley; Malcomson, James
  21. The continuous surge in the French residential market, a glorious era or a bubble risk? By Sabrine Rekik; Myriam Ben Saad
  22. Digital Concrete: Productivity in Infrastructure Construction By Diane Coyle; Rehema Msulwa

  1. By: Gardner, Leigh
    Abstract: Research on Africa’s monetary history has tended to focus on the imposition of colonial currencies while neglecting the monetary upheavals which faced the colonial powers after the collapse of the gold standard during World War I. Gardner profiles three crises—in The Gambia, Kenya, and Liberia—resulting from shifting exchange rates between European currencies during the 1920s and 1930s. These three cases illustrate the degree to which colonial policies struggled to keep up with the economic turmoil affecting metropolitan states and bring Africa into the story of global monetary instability during the interwar period, which is often told only from a European perspective.
    Keywords: gold standard; colonialism; exchange rates; The Gambia; Liberia; Kenya; CUP deal
    JEL: N17 F54
    Date: 2022–12–20
  2. By: Broadberry, Stephen; Chadha, Jagjit S.; Lennard, Jason; Thomas, Ryland
    Abstract: This paper constructs a new chronology of the business cycle in the United Kingdom from 1700 on an annual basis and from 1920 on a quarterly basis to 2010. The new chronology points to several observations about the business cycle. First, the cycle has significantly increased in duration and amplitude over time. Second, contractions have become less frequent but are as persistent and costly as at other times in history. Third, the typical recession has been tick-shaped with a short contraction and longer recovery. Fourth, the major causes of downturns have been sectoral shocks, financial crises and wars.
    Keywords: business cycles; economic history; United Kingdom; Wiley deal
    JEL: E32 N13 N14
    Date: 2023–01–27
  3. By: Angel De la Fuente
    Abstract: En este Documento de Trabajo se describe brevemente la última actualización de RegData, una base de datos que recoge los principales agregados económicos y demográficos de las regiones españolas durante las últimas seis décadas. En su mayoría, las series comienzan en 1950 o 1955 y se extienden hasta 2021. This Working Paper briefly describes the latest update of RegData, a database that collects the main economic and demographic aggregates of Spanish regions over the last six decades. For the most part, the series start in 1950 or 1955 and extend until 2021.
    Keywords: income, renta, RegData, RegData, GDP, PIB, Employment, Empleo, GVA, VAB, Spain, España, Regional Analysis Spain, Análisis Regional España, Working Paper, Documento de Trabajo
    JEL: E01 R1
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Juan Acosta; Beatrice Cherrier (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE Paris - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, X - École polytechnique); François Claveau; Clément Fontan; Aurélien Goutsmedt; Francesco Sergi
    Abstract: This paper discusses the transformation of the content, role, and status of economic research at the Bank of England in the past 60 years. We show how four three factors (the policy functions and missions of the Bank, the attitude of its executives towards economics, and its organizational structure) shaped the evolution of in-house economic research at the Bank during three distinctive periods (1960-1991; 1992-2007; 2007-2014). Our account relies on a broad set of sources and methods (the Bank's publications, archives, interviews with current and former Bank's economists, bibliometric, prosopography, and topic modeling).
    Keywords: Bank of England, Monetary Policy, Central Banks
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Sanchez Alonso, Blanca; Santiago Caballero, Carlos
    Abstract: Recent studies showed that Spanish republican exiles who travelled to Mexico to escape the effects and aftermath of the Spanish civil war were positively selected. However, the potential existence of regional differences in this positive selection needs to be addressed appropriately. Using a new dataset directly extracted from primary sources, we compare the heights of the republican exiles in Mexico with the estimations of those who stayed behind in their provinces of origin. We also study the existence of potential determinants to explain these differences. In addition to estimating how intense the loss of human capital was at the regional level, we also compare the heights of the republican exiles in Mexico with the heights of the Mexican population. Our results show significant regional differences in the positive selection of republican exiles. This was probably the consequence of the opportunities the local populations had to escape after the war started. We also show that Mexico was a place where Spanish migrants were able to obtain better occupations than their counterparts in Spain, meaning that although Mexico benefited from the arrival of a highly skilled labour force, it also provided republican exiles new opportunities.
    Keywords: Heights; Exile; Gender; War
    JEL: D6 J24 N0 N33 O15
    Date: 2023–01–20
  6. By: Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim
    Abstract: Did overseas slave-holding by Britons accelerate the Industrial Revolution? We provide theory and evidence on the contribution of slave wealth to Britain's growth prior to 1835. We compare areas of Britain with high and low exposure to the colonial plantation economy, using granular data on wealth from compensation records. Before the major expansion of slave holding from the 1640s onwards, both types of area exhibited similar levels of economic activity. However, by the 1830s, slavery wealth is strongly correlated with economic development - slave-holding areas are less agricultural, closer to cotton mills, and have higher property wealth. We rationalize these findings using a dynamic spatial model, where slavery investment raises the return to capital accumulation, expanding production in capital-intensive sectors. To establish causality, we use arguably exogenous variation in slave mortality on the passage from Africa to the Indies, driven by weather shocks. We show that weather shocks influenced the continued involvement of ancestors in the slave trade; weather-induced slave mortality of slave-trading ancestors in each area is strongly predictive of slaveholding in 1833. Quantifying our model using the observed data, we find that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain's industrial revolution.
    Keywords: industrial revolution; overseas slave-holding; slavery wealth
    JEL: J15 N63
    Date: 2022–11–16
  7. By: Kumon, Yuzuru; Saleh, Mohamed
    Abstract: Malthus predicted that fertility rises with income and that people regulate fertility via regulating marriage. However, evidence on the Malthusian equilibrium has been mostly confined to Europe and East Asia. We employ Egypt's population censuses of 1848 and 1868 to provide the first evidence on the preindustrial Malthusian dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa. At the aggregate level, we document rural Egyptian women having a high fertility rate that is close to the Western European level, combined with low age at marriage and low celibacy rate, that are closer to the East Asian levels. This resulted in a uniquely high fertility regime that was probably offset by the high child mortality. Next, we provide individual-level evidence on the positive correlation between fertility and income (occupation). We find that the higher fertility of rural white-collar men is attributed to their marriage behaviour, and not to marital fertility. Specifically, white-collar men's higher polygyny explains 45 per cent of their fertility advantage, whereas their higher marriage rate and lower wife's age at marriage explains 55 per cent. Therefore, polygyny was an additional factor that led to a steeper income–fertility curve than in Western Europe by enabling the rural middle class to out-breed the poor.
    Keywords: fertility; Malthusian model; marriage; Middle East; polygamy; Wiley deal
    JEL: J13 N35
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Jawad Daheur (CERCEC - Centre d'études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Researchers have long puzzled over the clearly paradoxical nature of Russian Poland's trading pattern from the point of view of the centre-periphery model. Located on the Western edge of the Russian Empire, this territory formed a periphery under the tight political domination of Saint Petersburg but, at the same time, it was a quickly developing zone, supplying the Russian heartland with manufactured goods. Challenging the idea of a full redirection of the regional economy towards the Russian market, the article reassesses the territory's foreign trade and shows that extractive activity for Western markets had not completely disappeared. There is certainly at least one notable exception to the standard view: the timber trade, which appears to have followed a separate path compared with other rural goods and was associated with huge social and environmental costs. Made possible both by the increasing pressure from German capital and a series of political decisions by Russian rule, these massive exports were part of a new dynamic, parallel and opposite to this territory's industrialisation: the advance of a resource frontier that made Russian Poland a timber reserve for a Germany that had become the leading industrial power on the continent.
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Angel de la Fuente
    Abstract: En esta nota se describe brevemente la última actualización de RegData, una base de datos que recoge los principales agregados económicos y demográficos de las regiones españolas durante las últimas seis décadas. En su mayoría, las series comienzan en 1950 o 1955 y se extienden hasta 2021. En años recientes, la información que ofrece RegData coincide con las últimas series oficiales que publica el INE. Estas series se enlazan con series oficiales anteriores y con otras fuentes con el fin de obtener series enlazadas homogéneas que se extienden hacia atrás tanto como ha sido posible.
    Date: 2023–02
  10. By: Alfred Galichon (NYU - New York University [New York] - NYU - NYU System, CIMS - Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences [New York] - NYU - New York University [New York] - NYU - NYU System, ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We show the role that an important equation first studied by Fritz John plays in mechanism design. Dedicated to Nicholas Yannelis on his 65th birthday.
    Keywords: Implementability, Mechanism design, John's equation, Kevin Roberts' theorem
    Date: 2021–08–24
  11. By: Chadha, J. S.; Lennard, J.; Solomou, S.; Thomas, R.
    Abstract: This paper investigates the degree of pass-through from import prices and tariffs to wholesale prices in interwar Britain using a new high-frequency micro data set. The main results are: (i) Pass-through from import prices and tariffs to wholesale prices was economically and statistically significant. (ii) Despite devaluation, import prices exacerbated deflation in the early 1930s because of the global slump in export prices. (iii) Rising protection, however, was a mild stimulus to prices during the shift to inflation.
    Keywords: Exchange rates, interwar, pass-through, prices, tariffs, United Kingdom
    JEL: E31 F13 N14
    Date: 2023–02–21
  12. By: Rémy Herrera (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Date: 2021–12
  13. By: Kockelkorn, Anne; Schmid, Christian; Streule, Monika; Wong, Kit Ping
    Abstract: This article compares how state-initiated mass housing urbanization has contributed to processes of peripheralization in three very different historical and geopolitical settings: in Paris from the 1950s to the 1990s in Hong Kong from the 1950s to 2010s and in Mexico City from the 1990s to the 2010s. We understand mass housing urbanization as large-scale industrial housing production based on the intervention of state actors into the urbanization process which leads to the strategic re-organization of urban territories. In this comparison across space and time we focus particularly on how, when and to what degree this urbanization process leads to the peripheralization of settlements and entire neighbourhoods over the course of several decades. This long-term perspective allows us to evaluate not only the decisive turns and ruptures within governmental rationales but also the continuities and contradictions of their territorial effects. Finally, we develop a taxonomy of different modalities of peripheralization that might serve as a conceptual tool for further urban research.
    Keywords: peripheralization; mass housing urbanization; urbanization processes; financialization of housing; neoliberal restructuring; territorial inequality; Hong Kong; Paris; Mexico City
    JEL: Q15 O14
    Date: 2022
  14. By: Francesco Barilari (Trinity College Dublin); Diego Zambiasi (Newcastle University)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that political campaigning can influence the behavior of law enforcement officers. We follow monthly arrests for 1383 police agencies in 40 American States from January 1984 to December 1990. During these years the Presidents of the United States developed a strong rhetoric against drug abuse. The main target of the presidential rhetoric was crack cocaine, a drug that the media associated with Blacks. We implement both a difference in differences and a reduced-form-Bartik-type approach to test if exposure to the presidential rhetoric affected the behavior of law enforcement officers. We generate a novel measure of the intensity of the presidential rhetoric against drug abuse by running a topic modelling analysis of all the public papers of Presidents Reagan and Bush. We find that arrests for crack cocaine of Blacks increased more in counties more exposed to the presidential rhetoric against drug abuse --even when accounting for state specific policies and baseline differences in county characteristics--, while we find no effect for Whites. We find qualitatively similar results when considering the effect of Reagan's political rallies.
    Keywords: Crackcocaine, Politicalcampaigning, Racialdiscrimination
    JEL: D72 J15 K42 P00
    Date: 2023–02
  15. By: James Sefton; Martin R. Weale
    Abstract: We explore the basis for the data on imputed rental of owner-occupied dwellings for the period 1948-1985. In the current UK national accounts dataset, these estimates are based the assumption that the revisions which took place in 2016 UK National Accounts and 2017 UK National Accounts were assumed to build up gradually from 1948 onwards, so that revisions to the early data were minimal while those to the more recent data were substantial. We show that the current data imply very low and unlikely yields on housing in the 1950s and 1960s. Applying the 1985 pro rata adjustment to imputed rental gives a stable yield of around ten per cent which leads to a very stretched ratio of imputed rental to actual paid rental per dwelling in the 1950s. Accordingly, it is not possible to come to a definite conclusion other than that more investigative work is needed. We suggest that the ONS convenes a panel of experts to undertake further work to establish the best way forward and establish a more plausible dataset of better quality.
    Keywords: historical data, imputed rent, owner-occupied dwellings, yield on housing
    JEL: E01
    Date: 2022–10
  16. By: Roberto Censolo
    Abstract: Smith’s ideal vision of capitalism envisages a virtuous loop between social prudence and macroeconomic performance that outlines a “progressive state†of society. The trickle down of wealth strengthens the confidence in the future and a steady adherence to prudent behaviour. At the same time, this reinforcing character of prudence encourages liberal virtues needed for growth. However, a path of perpetual growth is not conceivable in Smith analysis, considering both a moral and an economic perspective. Indeed, Smith’s pessimism about the future of commercial society relates to the intrinsic inability of capitalism to sustain social prudence in the long run due to an internal contradiction in its development process. In the progress of division of labour, the industry of labourers is progressively substituted with the industry of machines. Therefore, the development process, which is initially sustained by “the industry of mankind†, endogenously expels those liberal virtues that grounds a progressive state of society, with crucial social and political implication.
    Date: 2023–02–16
  17. By: Klump, Rainer
    Keywords: Hamilton Moment, Public Debt, Tax State, Holy Roman Empire, DebtCommissions
    JEL: P00 H63 H71 N40
    Date: 2022
  18. By: Zglinski, Jan
    Abstract: The free movement of goods is widely believed to be a prime example of the negative integration paradigm. Its defining characteristic is a strong judicial process, fuelled by – and fuelling – litigation, which eclipses the weak(er) political process. The article argues that this dominant narrative is no longer accurate. Based on a new dataset of all Article 34 TFEU cases decided by the CJEU between 1961 and 2020, it shows that goods litigation has been disappearing from the Court’s docket since the mid-1980s. The reasons for this, it is argued, lie in changing incentive structures for both litigants and national courts, which have reduced the appeal of bringing goods cases, as well as a rise in EU legislation. The consequence is a demise of negative and a turn towards positive integration.
    Keywords: internal market; free movement of goods; negative integration; CJEU; litigation; EU harmonisation; Internal market; Court of Justice of the European Union; T&F deal
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2023–01–12
  19. By: Plumpe, Werner
    Date: 2023
  20. By: MacLeod, W. Bentley (Princeton University); Malcomson, James (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: "Implicit Contracts, incentive compatibility, and involuntary unemployment" (MacLeod and Malcomson, 1989) remains our most highly cited work. We briefly review the development of this paper and of our subsequent related work, and conclude with reflections on the future of relational contract theory and practice.
    Keywords: relational contracts, informal enforcement, legal enforcement, incentives, private information
    JEL: D21 D23 D82 D86 L14 L22 L23 L24
    Date: 2023–01
  21. By: Sabrine Rekik; Myriam Ben Saad
    Abstract: A recent study by the European Central Bank (2021) shows that unlike previous financial and economic downturns, the covid-19 crisis did not impact the increasing tendency in house prices in Europe. Unexpectedly, both prices and loans rose respectively by 4.3% and 2.6% during the pandemic (ECB, 2021). While financial markets have plunged several times during the sanitary crisis, the real estate market continue to grow steadily. In this context, experts point out the existence of an increasing housing bubble and wonder if it will burst soon.Like most of the European countries, France has experienced a fearful increase of the value of real estate assets since the late 1980’s. The peak does not seem to be reached even during the hectic period of the pandemic. The question about the existence of a bubble becomes even more relevant especially with the very recent rise that is expected to deflate the value of real estate assets and accelerate the burst of the bubble.To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first to study the French property market and examine the existence of a plausible bubble. Unlike previous studies, we use quarterly data of the residential property price index from Q1 1970 to Q3 2021. We contribute to the existing literature by using a longer span of time-series. We expect more relevant findings as our sample includes 206 observations per country. The first part of the paper is dedicated to a global analysis of the residential prices in a set of European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom). We, then, focus on the French context in order to study the existence of a gap between the fundamental and market values of houses. We also suggest some explanatory variables to figure out the determinants of house prices in France and implement a cointegration test.A large strand of literature suggests different econometric techniques to detect the existence of financial and real estate bubbles. Most of them are based on unit root tests, variance tests, Johansen-Ledoit-Sornette model and durations and regime tests (Mahalik and Mallick, 2011; Ren et al., 2012; Escobari et Jafarinejad, 2016; Vogiazas and Alexiou, 2017; Hu and Oxley, 2018a; Harsha and Ismail 2019. Dufitinema, 2020; Rafiq et al., 2021).We implement an Augmented Dickey-Fuller (ADF) test, the Generalized Sup Augmented (GSADF) test and Phillips-Perron unit root test. Our results prove the existence of a bubble in the residential French market and confirm a long-term cointegration between price indices and our set of macroeconomic variables.
    Keywords: Cointegration and unit root tests; France; Housing Bubble; Residential property price
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2022–01–01
  22. By: Diane Coyle; Rehema Msulwa
    Abstract: Construction is a large sector of the UK economy and official statistics show that construction productivity has flatlined despite adoption of advances in digital technology and increased outsourcing. We examine the evolution of the UK infrastructure construction industry and the scope for its digitization, describing the changing industry structure and the range of digital technologies being adopted. We consider the implications of technological innovation for productivity, both actual and measured. We focus on two possible explanations for this particular piece of the productivity puzzle: time lags and different potential sources of mismeasurement.
    Keywords: construction, digitisation, infrastructure, productivity
    JEL: L10 L11 L16
    Date: 2022–09

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