October 16, 2009
A’Hearn, Brian (2005) Finance-led divergence in the regions of Italy. Financial History Review, 12/1: 7-41.
After the unification, the Italian South did not catch up with the North, on the contrary they engaged on a divergent path as the per capita income gap increased from 15-25% to 55% in the first 50 years (p.7). This continuing disparity may be explained by the sore state of the southern banks which could have been unable to support and finance local development (finance-led growth argument; p.9). However, initial evidence seems not to support this hypothesis, as the share of the Mezzogiorno in the banking activity of the country was in line with the relative economic weight of the region (p.10). Read the rest of this entry »
October 8, 2009
Fontaine, Laurence (2008) “Entre banque et assistance: la création des monts-de-piété”, chapter 6 in L’Economie morale. Pauvreté, crédit et confiance dans l’Europe préindustrielle. Paris : Gallimard, p.164-189.
The first Monti di Pietà (or mounts) were created in 15th-century Italy by Recollet monks to shield the less-fortunate from the scourge of usury. It was not so much intended to pool the poor out of misery as to provide the struggling middle dwellers with a last safety net before falling into poverty (p.164). In the peninsula, the capital hoarded in the safes of the mounts was often diverted from its original aim to be loaned to the rich. It prevented the Italian mounts from becoming really successful. However their model spread over Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
September 28, 2009
Dagnino, Giovanni Battista (1995) “The Tavola di Palermo: The First Public Bank of Second European XVI century” in Proceedings of the Conference on Business History, October 24 and 25 1994, Rotterdam, eds Mila Davids, Ferry de Goey & Dirk de Witt, 91-111.
The evolution of Sicilian banks reflects the history of the island during the early modern period, in that they were “economically and financially backward” (p.91). The 16th century in the Western Mediterranean was a time of Spanish Domination dominated by (1) money clipping, (2) high inflation, (3) commercial mismanagement, (4) Gresham Law episodes fuelled by unscrupulous financiers and (5) heavy and altogether negative government interventions (p.93). Read the rest of this entry »
September 22, 2009
Sylla, Richard (2008) “The Political Economy of Early U.S. Financial Development”, in Political Institutions and Financial Development, ed. Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North and Barry R. Weingast. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 60-91.
In only seven years, from 1788 to 1795, the US underwent a dramatic financial revolution; starting from scratch and swiftly acquiring all the key components of a modern financial infrastructure. By the time the westward expansion and the industrial take-off were ready to swing into action, a strong financial system was there to back them (p.62). But what allowed the US to develop these instruments? Read the rest of this entry »
September 21, 2009
Here is the list of preapproved sessions of the Second Latin American Economic History Congress (CLADHE-II), to be held in Mexico City on February 3-5, 2010. To submit a paper to any of the sessions, you have to go here.
September 14, 2009
Ben, Olivier and Bob
Disclaimer: Sorry about the delay in completing this post (holidays and tons of work impeded its prompt publication).
Here’s an article by Paul Krugman on the state of economics and the failure of most mainstream economists to imagine the worst-case scenario (i. e., the world financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession of our days). Here are some reactions of Krugman on the reception of the piece in the blogosphere. And here’s a great post by Beatrice Chérrier at History of Economics Playground exploring Krugman’s ambiguities on the methodology of macroeconomics.
Now, on to diminishing my credibility. Here are the ads of the TV show I am part of. The feature was recorded in the first semester of 2008. It will run on Saturdays and Tuesdays at 19 h in NatGeo, the National Geographic channel covering from Tijuana to Ushuaia. I have not heard enough reactions to the show to have an statistically significant image of what people think about it (so far partiality prevails) If you live in the Western hemisphere and have the chance to watch it, I’ll be more than glad to hear your comments on my unexpected debut in television.
August 14, 2009
Diego Rivera's Pan American Unity mural, Panel 3, City College of San Francisco.
I have finished the last details of the website for the Mexican Economic History course at UNAM, of which I am a teaching assistant. Here is part I and here is part II. I’m pretty sure the bibliography in the course is a neat overview of recent economic history in this country.
By the way, here’s an article published in the Washington Poston about rising unequality in the USA by Gregory Clark, Professor of Economics at UC Davis and author of A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World.
August 13, 2009
O’Brien, Patrick K. (1988) “The Political Economy of British Taxation, 1660-1815”, The Economic History Review , 41/1, 1-32.
Disclaimer: this summary is written by the contributors of the blog and not by the author of the article. Any mistake is Manuel’s fault (and he shall be punished).
From the Restoration to Waterloo, warfare occupied nearly half the fiscal years, imposing an ever-increasing burden upon the British taxpayers (p.1). The sudden extra expenditures caused by the conflicts were met not through higher taxes but thanks to loans obtained on the London capital market. The British “tax system was [not] elastic or reliable enough to finance abrupt transitions”. The service of the debt contracted during wars soon took over most of peacetime budget (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »
July 19, 2009
"…the first thing we do when we discuss Prof. Minsky is show reverence."
Via Brad DeLong: Here is a nice entry by Interactive Investor on financial cycles and crisis. The chart above is theirs.
Also, don’t hesitate to read this (fake) Goldman Sachs Internal Memo.
July 15, 2009
"Police officers marching in Urumqi". Photo by Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times
If you want to know more about the historical and economic origins of Uighur’s unrest in China last weeks, here is a good article on Xinjiang’s history by Edward Wong, a New York Times journalist.
July 14, 2009
The book in question
Financial journalist and “The Inteligent Investor” columnist Jason Zweig writes in the Wall Street Journal on the consistency of long-term stock market time series used in Jeremy Siegel’s Stocks for the Long Run book. In his article, Zweig questions how useful and reliable is to analyze financial markets with (weakly constructed) historical stock-market data, and argues against a popular belief that relied on these time series, i. e., that equity returns excede bond returns in the long-term.
Read the rest of this entry »