nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2023‒05‒01
twenty-one papers chosen by

  1. Wealth and Property Taxation in the United States By Sacha Dray; Camille Landais; Stefanie Stantcheva
  2. Economic History and Cliometrics: the Stand of the last Samurai. By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  3. Banking Crises in Historical Perspective By Carola Frydman; Chenzi Xu
  4. Frontier History and Gender Norms in the United States By Samuel Bazzi; Abel Brodeur; Martin Fiszbein; Joanne Haddad
  5. Murphy's Law or Luck of the Irish? Disparate Treatment of the Irish in 19th Century Courts By Anna Bindler; Randi Hjalmarsson; Stephen Machin; Melissa Rubio-Ramos
  6. (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  7. Reflections on Geopolitics By Elsig, Manfred
  8. The Football World Cup: the good deal? By Luc Arrondel; Richard Duhautois
  9. Speed of Convergence in a Malthusian World: Weak or Strong Homeostasis? By Arnaud Deseau
  10. Land Reform and Productivity: Evidence from the Dissolution of the French Monasteries By Arnaud Deseau
  11. Surnames in local newspapers and social mobility By Massimo Baldini; Andrea Barigazzi
  12. The Meaning of Debt in Classical Greece By Laurent Gauthier
  13. España | Series largas de VAB y empleo regional por sectores, 1955-2021 By Angel De la Fuente; Pep Ruiz
  14. Signals and Stigmas from Banking Interventions: Lessons from the Bank Holiday in 1933 By Matthew S. Jaremski; Gary Richardson; Angela Vossmeyer
  15. The Size, Growth, and Composition ofÊGovernment: Analysis and Evidence forÊCanada and the United States By Fran ois Vaillancourt; Robert D. Ebel
  16. Theorizing revolution in democracies: Evidence from the 2019 uprisings in Lebanon and Iraq By Chantal Berman; Killian Clarke; Rima Majed
  17. A Cliometric Perspective on Cultural Spread: Roman and Christian Names in Ancient Greece By Laurent Gauthier
  18. Ecological Imperialism: A 21st Century Circuits Approach By Khan, Haider
  19. Rent gaps, gentrification and the “two circuits” of Latin American urban economies By Richmond, Matthew; Garmany, Jeff
  20. Gender and Collaboration. By Lorenzo Ductor; Sanjeev Goyal; Anja Prummer
  21. Moving OpportunityLocal Connectivity and Spatial Inequality By Luke Heath Milsom

  1. By: Sacha Dray; Camille Landais; Stefanie Stantcheva
    Abstract: We study the history and geography of wealth accumulation in the US, using newly collected historical property tax records since the early 1800s. The US General Property Tax was a comprehensive tax on all types of property (real, personal, and financial), making it one of the first “wealth taxes.” Drawing on many historical records, we construct long-run, consistent, high-frequency wealth series at the county, state, and national levels. We first document the long-term evolution of household wealth in the US since the early 1800s. The US experienced extraordinary wealth accumulation after the Civil war and until the Great Depression. Second, we reveal that spatial inequality in the US has been large and highly persistent since the mid-1800s, driven mainly by Southern states, whose long-run divergence from the rest of the US predated the Civil War. Before the Civil war, enslaved people were assessed as personal property of the enslavers, representing almost one-half of total taxable property in Southern states. In addition to the moral and ethical issues involved, this system wrongly counted forced labor income as capital. The regional distribution of wealth and the effects of the Civil war appear very different if enslaved people are not included in the property measure. Third, we investigate the determinants of long-term wealth growth and capital accumulation. Among others, we find that counties with a higher share of enslaved property before the Civil War or higher levels of wealth inequality experienced lower subsequent long-run growth in property.
    JEL: E01 H20 H71 J15 N31 R12
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
    Abstract: The job of an army is to wage war. The ancient samurai warrior and a modern soldier do the same job using different approaches. The job of an economic historian is to tell stories about the past. The old guard of the economic history discipline and the new wave of practitioners, referred to as “cliometricians, ” do the same job in different ways and have at times clashed with one another over these differences. In the same way, the Satsuma Rebellion was a clash between the samurai and the modern army. This is the story of the evolution of economic history, the revolution that sparked a divide, and how the strengths of each party make the discipline stronger. It is told against the backdrop of the Satsuma rebellion, popularized in the film The Last Samurai.
    Keywords: Economic history, cliometrics, history, theory.
    JEL: A1 A2 A32 N01
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Carola Frydman; Chenzi Xu
    Abstract: This paper surveys the recent empirical literature on historical banking crises, defined as events taking place before 1980. Advances in data collection and identification have provided new insights into the causes and consequences of crises both immediately and over the long run. We highlight three overarching threads that emerge from the literature: first, leverage in the financial system is a systematic precursor to crises; second, crises have negative effects on the real economy; and third, government interventions can ameliorate these effects. Contrasting historical episodes reveals that the process of crisis formation and evolution does vary significantly across time and space. Thus, we also highlight specific institutions, regulations and historical contexts that give rise to these divergent experiences. We conclude by identifying important gaps in the literature and discussing avenues for future research.
    JEL: E44 E58 G01 G21 N10 N20
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Samuel Bazzi; Abel Brodeur; Martin Fiszbein; Joanne Haddad
    Abstract: This paper explores how historical gender roles become entrenched as norms over the long run. In the historical United States, gender roles on the frontier looked starkly different from those in settled areas. Male-biased sex ratios led to higher marriage rates for women and lower for men. Land abundance favored higher fertility. The demands of childcare, compounded with isolation from extended family as well as a lack of social and market infrastructure, constrained female opportunities outside the home. Frontier women were less likely to report “gainful employment, ” but among those who did, relatively more had high-status occupations. Together, these findings integrate contrasting narratives about frontier women—some emphasizing their entrepreneurial independence, others their prevailing domesticity. The distinctive frontier gender roles, in turn, shaped norms over the long run. Counties with greater historical frontier exposure exhibit lower female labor force participation through the 21st century. Time use data suggests this does not come with additional leisure but rather with more household work. These gender inequalities are accompanied by weaker political participation among women. While the historical frontier may have been empowering for some women, its predominant domesticity reinforced inegalitarian gender norms over the long run.
    JEL: J12 J13 J22 N31 N91 O15 P16
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Anna Bindler (University of Cologne and University of Gothenburg); Randi Hjalmarsson (University of Gothenburg); Stephen Machin (London School of Economics and CEP); Melissa Rubio-Ramos (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: Using data on 100 years of 19th century criminal trials at London’s Old Bailey, this paper offers clear evidence of disparate treatment of Irish-named defendants and victims by English juries. We measure surname Irishness and Englishness using place of birth in the 1881census. Irish-named defendants are 11% less likely to plea, 3% more likely to be convicted by the jury, and 16% less likely to receive a jury recommendation for mercy. These disparities are: (i) largest for violent crimes and for defendants with more distinctive Irish surnames; (ii) robust to case characteristic controls and proxies for signals associated with Irish surnames (social class, Irish county of origin, criminality); (iii) particularly visible for Irish defendants in cases with English victims; and (iv) spill-over onto English-named defendants with Irish codefendants. Disparate treatment is first visible in the 1830s, after which it grows, then persists through to the end of the century. In particular, the gap in jury conviction rates became larger during the twenty years after the Irish Potato Famine-induced migration to London. We do not find evidence, however, that the first bombing campaign of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (in 1867 and the 1880s) further exacerbated these disparities.
    Keywords: Irish, crime, criminal law, discrimination, economic history
    JEL: K42 K14 J15 N33 N93
    Date: 2023–04
  6. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. We document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are higher close to historical ethnic borders. Exploiting variations across artificial regions within an ethnicity's historical homeland and a theory-based instrumental variable approach, we find that regions crossed by 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.
    Keywords: Borders, Conflict, Territory, Property Rights, Landownership, Population Pressure, Migration, Historical Homelands, Development, Africa, Voronoi Tessellation, Thiessen Tessellation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2023–03–30
  7. By: Elsig, Manfred
    Abstract: Abstract The notion of geopolitics is widely used in public debates these days. This paper focuses on how the concept has evolved over time in the study of international economic cooperation focusing in particular on trade and investment policies. In light of international relations and international political economy perspectives, the paper discusses the origins of the concepts found in the early 20th century. It then describes how it was marginalized by mainstream theories during the Cold War period, albeit it was implicitly taken up by theorists in the tradition of offensive realism. The paper then maps the liberal turn of the 1990s in political economy and how power politics were further relegated to the background with increasing market integration. It was not until the 2000s when power politics made a slow return. Both academia and politics have been witnessing a surprising renaissance of geopolitics in the past 10 years. The paper maps out the contours of this new variant of geopolitics, a mix of superpower rivalry and economic nationalism, and offers some reflections regarding the danger of deterministic scenarios and ways to temper geopolitics going forward. Biography Prof. Manfred Elsig
    Date: 2023–04–12
  8. By: Luc Arrondel (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Richard Duhautois (LIRSA - Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de recherche en sciences de l'action - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - HESAM - HESAM Université - Communauté d'universités et d'établissements Hautes écoles Sorbonne Arts et métiers université, CEET - Centre d'études de l'emploi et du travail - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - HESAM - HESAM Université - Communauté d'universités et d'établissements Hautes écoles Sorbonne Arts et métiers université - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé)
    Abstract: The "jewel" in FIFA's crown and its main "asset" remains the World Cup. Established in 1928, it has been held every four years since the 1930 tournament hosted and won by Uruguay among 13 teams. Qatar will host 32 teams, but more than 200 teams from all six continental confederations have participated in the qualifying rounds. After the Second World War, the World Cup experienced a very strong growth in terms of broadcasting (from 1966), sporting notoriety, social stakes and economic activity (especially from the 1970s). The competition has become a global event, benefiting from a planetary diffusion. Not only has the World Cup become FIFA's main source of funding, but many national federations and governments are interested in hosting the event to benefit from the potential social and economic benefits.
    Abstract: Le « joyau » de la couronne de la FIFA et son principal « actif » demeure la Coupe du monde. Créée en 1928, elle a lieu tous les quatre ans depuis le tournoi de 1930 organisé et remporté par l'Uruguay parmi treize prétendants. Le Qatar accueillera 32 équipes, mais plus de 200 formations appartenant aux six confédérations continentales ont participé aux phases éliminatoires. Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la Coupe du monde va connaitre une très forte croissance en termes de diffusion (à partir de 1966), de notoriété sportive, d'enjeu social et d'activité économique (surtout à partir des années 1970). La compétition est devenue un évènement global, bénéficiant d'une diffusion planétaire. La Coupe du monde est non seulement devenue la principale source de financement de la FIFA, mais un grand nombre de fédérations nationales et de gouvernements souhaitent organiser cet événement pour bénéficier d'éventuelles retombées en matière sociales et économiques.
    Keywords: Economy, Geopolitics, Television, World Cup, Coupe du monde, Economie, FIFA, Géoéconomie, Télévision
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Arnaud Deseau (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Standard Malthusian models predict that a productivity or population shock modify income per capita in the short run. In the long run, however, population pressures make income per capita gradually come back to its steady state. I investigate the duration of this short-run fluctuation, estimating the speed of convergence of Malthusian economies to their GDP per capita and population steady-states. To do so, I first build and calibrate a Malthusian model capturing explicitly the idea that marriages are postponed (advanced) and fertility potential of couples reduced (augmented) during depressions (expansions). I then also run β-convergence regressions on historical panel data. I find consistent evidence of weak homeostasis, with a half-life of about one century. It implies that early modern data may display high persistence without necessarily rejecting the Malthusian hypothesis.
    Keywords: Convergence, Homeostasis, Malthusian dynamics, Preventive check, Marriage, Fertility, Malthusian model, β -convergence
    JEL: N10 N13 N33 O10 O47
    Date: 2023–03–16
  10. By: Arnaud Deseau (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: This article uses the confiscation and auction of monastic properties during the French Revolution to assess the effects of land reallocation on agricultural productivity. To proxy for monastic landholdings, I construct a novel dataset using the annual income and location of more than 1, 500 French monasteries in 1768. I perform several cross-checking analyses and demonstrate the validity of the data as a proxy for monastic landholdings both at the monastery and arrondissement levels. I show that arrondissements with greater land reallocation experienced higher levels of agricultural productivity in the mid-19th century. I trace these increases in productivity to the creation of larger and less fragmented farms, leading to an increase in mechanization and the substitution of family labor with a hired specialized labor force.
    Keywords: Land Reform, Productivity, French Revolution, Monasteries, Farm Size
    JEL: O13 O40 Q15 N53
    Date: 2023–03–16
  11. By: Massimo Baldini; Andrea Barigazzi
    Abstract: This paper exploits an innovative data source, the surnames contained in local newspapers during almost a century in the Italian Province of Modena (NUTS-3 level), to study the phenomenon of social mobility over time. Based on the hypothesis that the surnames that appear in the newspapers have a particular social relevance, the study of changes in the frequency distribution of the set of surnames over time allows to identify periods of greater or lower social mobility. The results show that the periods of greatest change have been the years of transition between democracy and the fascist regime and vice versa, and the 1980s. A strong regression towards the mean in the relative importance of surnames is also observed.
    Date: 2023–04
  12. By: Laurent Gauthier (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dionysien - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis)
    Abstract: The study of ancient Greek economic thought is delicate, because the texts in which it is expressed can be interpreted in many ways, as evidenced by the long debate between primitivists and modernists. We examine a particular aspect of economic life, debt, following a lexicological approach, in order to grasp its perception by the ancient Greeks by studying the words associated with it. This lexicological perspective enables us to go beyond a purely economic analysis of debt relationships. We concentrate on the archaic and classical periods and show, through our analysis of how debt operated for the Greeks, that in spite of the presence of many sophisticated mechanisms closely resembling the modern concept of debt, there were fundamental distinctions.
    Keywords: Debt, Ancient Greece, Lexicology
    Date: 2023–02–16
  13. By: Angel De la Fuente; Pep Ruiz
    Abstract: This Working Paper briefly describes the latest update of the sectoral module of the RegData FEDEA-BBVA database (see de la Fuente 2017 and 2023 and de la Fuente and Ruiz Aguirre, 2020). This Working Paper briefly describes the latest update of the sectoral module of the RegData FEDEA-BBVA database (see de la Fuente 2017 and 2023 and de la Fuente and Ruiz Aguirre, 2020).
    Keywords: Sectors, Sectores, Remuneration, Remuneración, income, renta, prices, precios, Employment, Empleo, Spain, España, Regional Analysis Spain, Análisis Regional España, Working Paper, Documento de Trabajo
    JEL: E01 R1
    Date: 2023–04
  14. By: Matthew S. Jaremski; Gary Richardson; Angela Vossmeyer
    Abstract: A nationwide banking panic forced President Franklin Roosevelt to declare a nationwide banking holiday immediately after his inauguration in March 1933. The government reopened sound banks sequentially, with some resuming operations sooner and others later. Within three weeks, 11, 000 of the nation’s 18, 000+ banks had reopened. Another 3, 000 reopened over the next three months. A comprehensive bank-level database reveals the public responded to signals sent by regulators’ actions. Rapidly reopened banks received more deposits than banks that reopened only a few weeks later. The stigma of late reopening lasted through the decade. While these signals and stigmas shifted substantial resources from stigmatized to lauded banks and from counties whose banks on average reopened slowly to counties whose banks reopened rapidly, the shifts in resources among institutions had no measurable impact on the rate at which the localities recovered. This result raises questions concerning the conventional wisdom regarding intervening in a banking system amidst a systemic crisis.
    JEL: E5 G21 N22
    Date: 2023–03
  15. By: Fran ois Vaillancourt (UniversitŽ de MontrŽal, CIRANO); Robert D. Ebel (International Center for Public Policy, Georgia State University, Atlanta)
    Abstract: The topic of measuring the growth and size of government, on which there is now a robust literature and policy debate, held little interest for economists in the 18th and 19th centuries and throughout much of the 20th century. Although it is a bit dangerous to date when perceptions of the importance of the topic began to shift, a good place to start is with Richard BirdÕs research for the Canadian Tax Foundation in 1970 on the growth of government spending in Canada. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review what Bird recognized is an evolutionary process, and then to examine the manner in which the growth and size of government can be measured in Canada and the United States. The trends in four key measures following the Second World War are defined and documented. The paper reveals two especially important features. The first is the increase in the role of the subnational government sector. The second is that, in both countries, the public sector is trending away from spending on (and taxing for) the publicÕs physical infrastructure and toward transfers to individuals, particularly in the form of health and income security programs.
    Date: 2023–04
  16. By: Chantal Berman; Killian Clarke; Rima Majed
    Abstract: Scholarly logic holds that revolutionary movements are unlikely to break out in democracies, where citizens may simply remove unpopular leaders through elections. And yet the twenty-first century has witnessed a global series of uprisings against regimes that are nominally democratic—in that they regularly hold competitive elections—but are otherwise deeply broken, run by kleptocratic networks of elites who often fail to deliver vital services.
    Keywords: Lebanon, Iraq, protest, Democracy
    Date: 2023
  17. By: Laurent Gauthier (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dionysien - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis)
    Abstract: Explaining culture through contagion mechanics has appealed to some anthropologists, from a theoretical standpoint, and some quantitative sociologists have proposed formal models for this phenomenon. Studying the spread of culture through the lens of epidemiology has a kind of natural appeal, as it seems to intuitively make sense. The dynamics of epidemics, with their sometimes explosive behavior in a pandemic, combined with oscillations or endemic patterns, seem to capture the phase transitions of cultural spread. The particular links between economics and epidemiology were surveyed in Avery et al. (2020): economics can bring new perspectives in epidemiological modeling by endogenizing certain parameters, which can have a significant impact on how contagion dynamics are understood and projected. The research into the endogeneization of important parameters in epidemiological models, however, has been purely concentrated on medical or biological applications. We propose a utility-based model for cultural contagion, which extends the class of so-called SIR models in epidemiology, and apply it first to the spread of Romanity in the ancient Greek world, through the dynamics of Roman names acquisition, and then to the spread of Christianism through Christian names acquisition. The dynamics of the transition from a pure Greek world to a Romanized world, explosive at the outset, appear to have been fundamentally driven by an intense adoption of Romanity, but combined with an equally intense return to traditional Greek traits. The transition from pagan to Christian names, on the other hand, saw less of a reversal effect.
    Keywords: Onomastics, Epidemiology, Game theory, Ancient Greece
    Date: 2023–02–16
  18. By: Khan, Haider
    Abstract: I define ecological imperialism under global capitalism rigorously by following a circuit of capital approach grounded in a dialectical scientific realist epistemology and ontology. I show that a theory of imperialism and ecological imperialism can be constructed by extending the classical circuits of capital to conceptualize a set of international circuits of capital. The dynamic theory thus constructed can analyze a diverse set of social, economic and political phenomena such as the global race for resources, new social and political movements and regional and global instabilities and conflicts. The extension of this theory of ecological imperialism to encompass world systems theory gives the ontological grounds for privileging concrete studies of situations in core-periphery-semi-periphery of the world system in a coherent and consistent manner.
    Keywords: ecological imperialism, world systems theory, circuits of capital, international circuits of capital, monopoly capital, categorial dialectics, resistance
    JEL: B5 G0 Q57
    Date: 2023–03–01
  19. By: Richmond, Matthew; Garmany, Jeff
    Abstract: Recent research in Latin America, and our own analysis of Brazilian cities, indicate that aspects of rent gap theory – in particular, the assumption that strong links exist between rent gaps and gentrification – do not fully account for observed empirical conditions. Drawing on Milton Santos' theory of “two circuits” of urban economies in the global South, we seek to develop an expanded framework better suited to explaining the Latin American context. Specifically, we argue that important socio-spatial processes combine to embed what Santos called the “lower circuit” in certain parts of the city. This “territorialisation” of space by the lower circuit impedes the entry of the upper circuit, thus constraining expected rent gap capture and gentrification. We argue that only by taking both circuits into account, and considering how they become territorialised in urban space, can we properly grasp the relationship between rent gaps and gentrification in Latin American cities.
    Keywords: rent gap; gentrification; Southern theory; Latin America; Brazil; urban development; 1632145; ES/ P007635/1; ECF-2019-315; Wiley deal
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2023–03–28
  20. By: Lorenzo Ductor (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Sanjeev Goyal (Christ's College and Faculty of Economics, Cambridge.); Anja Prummer (Johannes Kepler University Linz, Queen Mary University London.)
    Abstract: We connect gender disparities in research output and collaboration patterns in economics. We first document large gender gaps in research output. These gaps persist across 50 years despite a significant increase in the fraction of women in economics during that time. We further show that output differences are closely related to differences in the co-authorship networks of men and women; women have fewer collaborators, collaborate more often with the same co-authors, and a higher fraction of their co-authors collaborate with each other. Taking into account co-authorship networks reduces the gender output gap by 18%.
    Keywords: Gender Inequality, Co-authorship, Networks, Homophily.
    JEL: D8 D85 J7 J16 O30
    Date: 2023–04–13
  21. By: Luke Heath Milsom
    Abstract: Spatial inequality within countries is a pervasive and persistent phenomenon. Howdoes the connectivity of place determine underlying spatial inequality of opportunity?To answer this question, I derive a sufficient statistic result linking local opportunity tomarket access terms, developing a framework consistent with a broad class of spatialgeneral equilibrium models. I empirically validate this result using a novel not-on-least-cost-path identification strategy and data from historical road maps in Benin, Cameroon, and Mali covering 1970 to 2020, that I digitize. Using these estimates toparameterize a structural case of the spatial model, I show that road building alters thespatial distribution of opportunity. By considering each possible road upgrade I showthat although some roads decrease the standard deviation of opportunity by more than2%, others increase inequality by a similar amount. By fixing the spatial distribution ofopportunity I show that to achieve similar reductions in inequality by moving people, aprohibitively large number would need to migrate from low- to high-opportunity areas— between 13% and 44% of the low-opportunity areas’ population. Policymakers alsoface an equity-efficiency trade-off: 4 out of the top 10 aggregate opportunity-increasingroads alsoincreasespatial inequality of opportunity.
    Keywords: Inequality, Opportunity, Roads, Spatial, Market Access
    Date: 2023–04

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