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FROM SOCIAL DEMOCRACY TO MARKET LIBERALISM: How the Nobel Prize in Economics has influenced policy debates

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Social democracy and the market turn are complementary strategies, the former dealing effectively with downside risks, the latter with economic opportunity. According to research by Professor Avner Offer, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, both have worked in their respective spheres but were less successful when they moved beyond it.

HOW THE BETTER-OFF ESCAPE TAXES: Evidence from Spain’s introduction of the personal income tax

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Following the introduction of a personal income tax in Spain in 1979, capitalists and the self-employed managed to escape from it to a large extent, and for a long time. According to research by Sara Torregrosa-Hetland, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, only around a quarter and a third of these incomes respectively were reported to tax authorities in 1982; the figures grew for self-employment in the following years, up to approximately 65% in 1990.

WOMEN VOTERS DROVE THE PROTECTIONIST TURN OF THE 1930s

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Without the granting and extension of UK voting rights to women in 1918 and 1928, trade would have been more ‘free’ than it otherwise was. That is the conclusion of new research by Alan de Bromhead to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference. His study helps to explain why the doctrine of free trade, arguably in its heyday during the nineteenth century, proved difficult to maintain in the twentieth century world of the universal franchise.

Following the end of the First World War, the vote was extended to millions who had previously been denied a political voice. In the UK, the vote was given to all adult men and all women over the age of 30 in 1918, increasing the size of the electorate from eight to 21 million. With the granting of universal suffrage to women in 1928, a further seven million women were entitled to vote.

PRIORITISING FINANCE OVER MANUFACTURING: How 1950s policies to promote the City killed Britain’s consumer durables industries

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

The ‘stop-go’ economic policies of the 1950 had a devastating impact on the car and household durables industries, which offered high wages and rapid long-term employment growth in Britain’s provincial regions. But the Bank of England and Treasury considered this a price worth paying to boost the City and the banking sector.

These are the findings of new research by  Peter Scott and James Walker to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference. Their study examines the impact of government policies, which, in order to promote the post-war recovery of the City, sought to depress sales of consumer durables.

GREECE AND THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM A CENTURY AGO

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Between September 2011 and January 2015, the Swiss National Bank used the printing press to issue large amounts of its own currency to maintain a pre-announced exchange rate value between the franc and the euro. This has a precedent from almost a century before when in 1910 the National Bank of Greece, a privately owned issuing bank, was allowed by legislation to print banknotes on condition that these freshly printed banknotes were used to buy gold or foreign exchange at or below a fixed rate of exchange.

Research by Olga Christodoulaki, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, examines this episode in detail. The study notes that the National Bank could only sell these specific reserves of gold and foreign currency at a fixed rate plus commission. This fixed rate was the parity between the drachma and the French franc as determined when Greece joined the Latin Monetary Union in 1868; one paper drachma being equal to one gold drachma, which in turn equalled one French franc.

HOW CHINA CAME TO BE ONE COUNTRY AND EUROPE LOTS OF COUNTRIES

Date:
28 Mar 2014

Summary:

To understand why China has typically been unified for much of its history whereas Europe has been fragmented, it is necessary to assess the external threat that they faced. According to research by Mark Koyama and colleagues, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2014 annual conference, in peacetime, China benefited from being a politically centralised empire.

ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN THE LONG RUN: Evidence from OECD countries, 1850-2007

Date:
28 Mar 2014

Summary:

New research charts the ebbs and flows of economic freedom in advanced economies over the past the century and a half. The study by Leandro Prados de la Escosura, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2014 annual conference, measures economic liberty by the extent to which privately owned property is securely protected, contracts enforced, prices stable, barriers to trade small, and resources mainly allocated through the market.

FROM SLUMS TO SLUMS IN THREE GENERATIONS: Housing policy and the political economy of the British welfare state, 1945-2005

Date:
28 Mar 2014

Summary:

Between 1945 and 2005, the number of dwellings in Britain almost doubled, and housing standards increased beyond recognition. Housing became simultaneously the most important investment owned by households, and the largest single item in most families’ consumption expenditure. The market had triumphed, and the state (apart from a residual social housing sector) had withered away.

EARLY GLOBALISATION: How open economies in the West provided the basis for the Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence with the Far East

Date:
28 Mar 2014

Summary:

The closed national economies of the Far East in the early modern era might have been one of the biggest economic policy mistakes ever committed, according to research by Rafael Dobado-Gonzalez, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2014 annual conference. His study shows that the lack of regional integration prevented that part of the world from taking advantage of the significant benefits from the large expansion of international trade – the period of ‘early globalisation’ that underpinned the Industrial Revolution in the West.

MIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN EDINBURGH A CENTURY AGO: New census evidence

Date:
28 Mar 2014

Summary:

Migrants from all over Europe were moving in search of a better life: often they did not speak English; their customs were probably unfamiliar and generated suspicion. This is how Marc Di Tommasi begins to describe the migration experiences of Edinburgh a century ago in a study to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2014 annual conference. He notes that that far from living in isolation from their host society, the migrants in Edinburgh shared their accommodations with almost 1,000 people from the local population and worked shoulder to shoulder with many more.

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