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PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN THE UK: STEEP FALLS SINCE THE DAYS OF KEYNES AND KEYNESIANISM

Date:
21 Jun 2013

Summary:

There has been a long-term retreat of the UK government from capital investment in infrastructure, housing and utilities, according to Dr Martin Chick of the University of Edinburgh in a study presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference. This is important to recognise at time when there is renewed political interest in infrastructure investment and, more generally, in the scope for the state to undertake, procure and encourage fixed capital investment.

SEARCHING FOR HONEST AND COMPETENT BANKERS – HOW THE BANK OF ENGLAND SELECTED STAFF DURING THE NAPOLEONIC WARS

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

Recruitment committees at the early nineteenth century Bank of England looked for competence in handwriting and working with figures. Beyond these two skills, they prized individuals who were sober, virtuous, debt-free, churchgoing and not involved in any political activism.

These are among the findings of research by Dr Anne Murphy, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference.

BRITAIN’S WEALTH LIES IN ITS PEOPLE

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

A recent World Bank report asked ‘Where is the Wealth of Nations?’ Calculations presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference show that for Britain, the answer is undoubtedly in its people.

Dr Jan Kunnas and his colleagues calculate that Britain’s ‘human capital’ has grown by a multiple of 123 over the past 250 years. The main drivers of this phenomenal growth have been the growth in the workforce and the growth in wages.

BRITAIN'S MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THE WORLD IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

Britain had the opportunity during the 1970s to establish itself as a world-leading centre for renewable energy technology. In the early 1980s, Britain was well placed to capitalise on its early lead. But the government baulked at the increased expenditure required to take devices to the next stage of development, choosing instead to stick with nuclear energy. Thus, Britain failed to grasp a rare opportunity to take an early lead in renewable energy development.


LOCAL KEYNESIANISM: THE VALUE OF BOOSTING PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

Since the 1970s, the failure of the private sector to create jobs outside London and the South East at anything like the required rate has been compensated for by new public sector jobs. A study by Professor Jim Tomlinson, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference, argues that this ‘local Keynesianism’ should not be seen as a problem.

DOOM-MONGERS ARE WRONG ABOUT OUR CHILDREN’S ECONOMIC PROSPECTS: EVIDENCE FROM VICTORIAN BRITAIN OF WHAT DRIVES TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

Reducing the cost of access to knowledge through a network of learned societies was the driving force behind the technological innovation of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Similarly, the virtually costless access to knowledge permitted by global diffusion of the internet will drive continued rapid innovation to the benefit of future generations.

That is central argument of James Dowey, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference.His quantitative analysis of London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 shows that what mattered for technological innovation in nineteenth century Britain was the cost of access to knowledge.

EXCHANGE RATE RIGGING IN THE MIDDLE AGES – HOW IT COMPARES WITH THE LIBOR SCANDAL

Date:
01 Jan 2013

Summary:

Some of the world’s biggest banks, including Barclays and RBS, have been fined heavily for rigging LIBOR (the London InterBank Offered Rate) – effectively fixing the cost of money. Likewise, medieval merchants were suspected of manipulating foreign exchange rates across Europe to hide their usurious profits.

Despite some initial similarities, further inspection reveals important differences between these two instances, according to research by Dr Tony Moore and colleagues, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2013 annual conference.

REVOLUTION ON THE BRITISH WORKING MAN

Date:
01 Jan 2012

Summary:

Most adult men saw their lives improve on many fronts during the Industrial Revolution. That is the central finding of new research by Dr Emma Griffin (University of East Anglia), which has gathered evidence on male employment and living standards from working-class autobiographies of the time.

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