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THE ECONOMIC BASIS FOR BREXIT: De-industrialisation rather than globalisation is the key part of the story

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

In seeking to understand the economic basis of the Brexit vote, we should concentrate not on globalisation but on the long-term impact of de-industrialisation. That is the central message of economic historian Professor Jim Tomlinson, in analysis to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference. 

The evidence is certainly strong that economic disadvantage played a significant part in the patterns of voting in the referendum (though age and educational qualifications seem to have played a large, independent role). But this disadvantage seems best linked to de-industrialisation, which has left a legacy of a much more polarised service sector labour market, with large numbers of people condemned to poorly paid and insecure jobs.

LONG-TERM CULTURAL IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION: Evidence of migrants as drivers of New World individualism and Old World collectivism

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

People who believed in individualism, as reflected in their having less common names, were more likely to emigrate from Scandinavian countries to the United States, leaving more collectivist-minded compatriots behind. The long-term impact has been that Scandinavian districts that experienced more emigration are still relatively more collectivist today than those that experienced less – while the United States is one of the most individualistic countries in the world today. 

These are among the findings of new research by Anne Sofie Beck Knudsen, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference. Her study constructs historical indicators of individualistic and collectivist culture from the distribution of names in historical birth registers and from the written language of local newspapers around the turn of the twentieth century.

BOOSTING LIFE EXPECTANCY ACROSS THE WORLD: Lessons from the diffusion of medical knowledge in the 20th century

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

The potential for achieving high levels of life expectancy via the diffusion of medical knowledge has been created and exploited by some developing countries – Cuba, for example. But the lack of success in many other places is mainly the result of medical inefficiency rather than income. That is one of the conclusions of new research by Daniel Gallardo Albarrán and Joost Veenstra, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference.

ORIGINS OF BRITAIN’S HOUSING CRISIS: ‘Stop-go’ policy and the covert restriction of private residential house-building

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

The application of ‘stop-go’ policy to mortgage lending in Britain between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s had a major cumulative impact on the economy: depressing the long-term rate of capital formation in housing; creating inflationary expectations for house purchasers; having negative impacts on living standards (especially for lower-income families); and damaging the growth, productivity and capacity of the house-building sector and the building society movement. 

These are among the findings of new research by Peter Scott and James Walker, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference. Their study shows how restrictions on house-building are an important but neglected impact of ‘stop-go’ policy, largely because the policy was mainly undertaken covertly, without public announcement or parliamentary discussion.

FROM LOSING AN EMPIRE TO LEAVING EUROPE: Brexit and the British public’s relations with the EEC, 1961-75

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

On referendum day in June last year, the 52-year old Nigel Farage expressed his satisfaction with being able to vote on the matter of Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) for the first time. Brexiters like Farage have long claimed that membership of the EU/EEC (European Economic Community) lacked a democratic mandate.

Research by David Thackeray, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference, argues that this notion is based on a ‘myth of 1975’. In fact, British public opinion was largely sympathetic towards EEC membership for much of the 1960s. During the first EEC application, Gallup polls demonstrate that approval of the idea of Britain joining the Community outstripped disapproval by a clear margin throughout the lifetime of the application, although there was an overall increase in disapproval rates too.

BRITISH ENGINEERING SKILLS IN THE 18TH CENTURY AGE OF STEAM: A novel approach to measuring progress

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

Engineering skills in Britain improved during the eighteenth century but progress was not linear, according to new research by Harry Kitsikopoulos, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference. His study uses a novel approach to quantifying the trends from the first appearance of the technology of steam power (1706) through to the last quarter of the century (the Watt era), using a large amount of data on fuel consumption rates.

LONG-TERM NEGATIVE IMPACT OF SLAVERY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN BRAZIL

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

Slavery has been at the centre of many heated debates in the social sciences, yet, there are few systematic studies relating slavery to economic outcomes in receiving countries. Moreover, most existing work on Brazil – which was the largest slave importer during the African slave trade and the last country to abolish the practice – has failed to identify any clear legacies of this institution.

New research by Andrea Papadia, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference, overcomes this impasse by highlighting a distinctly negative impact of slavery on economic development in Brazil. More precisely, the study illustrates that in the municipalities of the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, where slave labour was more prevalent in the nineteenth century, fiscal development was lower in the early twentieth century, long after slavery was abolished.

RELIGION AND ECONOMICS: New research shows that early Methodism was underpinned by sound and sophisticated financial management

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

John Wesley’s efforts to spread the Gospel throughout the British Isles and beyond in the later eighteenth century relied on resources generated and managed using a wide range of techniques. A new study of contemporary financial records by Clive Norris shows that the evangelistic energy and fervour of Methodist preachers and members was supported – but also frequently constrained – by the movement’s approach to financial management.

THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: A newly discovered role in the shadow banking system of the 19th century

Date:
29 Mar 2017

Summary:

In the nineteenth century, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) was a key element in the system for providing long-range financing for Britain and much of the rest of the world. A new study by Andrew Odlyzko, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference, reports his discovery that it was also a key element of the British shadow banking system.

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