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INSTITUTIONAL ORIGINS OF AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT: Local governments provide link between pre-colonial states and current economic performance

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

Local governments during the colonial period provide a direct link between pre-colonial states and current patterns of economic development, according to research by Leigh Gardner and Jutta Bolt to be presented at the Economic History Society’s annual conference. This is particularly true in countries where greater power over public resources was delegated to local officials early in the colonial period. This finding not only helps explain differences between African countries, but also inequalities in development outcomes within countries.

ITALY’S NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE: Patterns and drivers of regional income inequality, 1871-2001

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

New research presents the first reliable estimates of Italy’s regional GDP over the past century and more. Among the findings of the study by Emanuele Felice, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, is that in the second half of the twentieth century, the North-East and the centre of the country converged towards the North-West, while Southern Italy lagged behind. As a consequence, Italy is now divided into two halves: the Centre-North and the South.

AFTER EMPIRE COMES HOME: Economic experiences of Japanese civilian repatriates to Hiroshima, 1945-1956

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

The economic impact of large influxes of population is a complex topic that has been much debated. Research by Sumiyo Nishizaki, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, contributes to those debates by examining one of the most significant, but least researched, examples of post-war migration – the repatriation of more than six million (including three million civilians and demobilised soldiers each) to Japan after World War II.

WHEN LANCASHIRE BECAME THE WORLD’S COTTON MANUFACTURING CAPITAL: New study of the impact of mechanisation on jobs, Manchester 1780-1840

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

Until the last 25 years or so of the eighteenth century, textiles such as wool, cotton, linen and silk, were all spun by hand, normally at home. Hand spinning by distaff or by wheel was an occupation undertaken largely by children and women, the latter sometimes part-time, combining spinning with household duties or other work. The textile industry was transformed when spinning machines were introduced. Cotton was the first of the yarns to mechanise and with the manufacturers in Manchester at the forefront, Lancashire was to become the cotton manufacturing capital of the world.

FIRMS IN HIGHLY POLLUTED CITIES HAVE TO OFFER HIGHER WAGES: Evidence from nineteenth century Britain

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

From the cotton towns of nineteenth century Britain to the mega-cities of modern China, industrialisation and urbanisation often go hand-in-hand with pollution. Growing industries create jobs and drive city growth, but may also generate pollution, which reduces the quality of life in cities, driving workers and firms away.

Often, this has led local industrial development to be viewed as a trade-off between employment growth and environmental degradation. Yet this view obscures the fact that pollution may have a direct negative impact on city employment growth, by driving workers away or forcing firms to pay higher wages to compensate them for living in unhealthy conditions.

Research by Walker Hanlon, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, offers an approach that makes it possible to identify the negative impact of pollution on city employment while controlling for the positive effect of employment growth in polluting industries.

THE SPREAD OF MASS SCHOOLING IN CHINA THROUGH THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

Date:
28 Mar 2015

Summary:

Universal access to primary education, one of the most pervasive social policies around the world, began in the early nineteenth century. As a feature of an institutionalised model for national development across the globe, this system spread quickly from European nations to the United States and then later to Asia.

Mass schooling systems fundamentally enlarged the number of people who could benefit from education; therefore, it considerably accelerated the speed of human capital formation. In China, the attempt to provide mass schooling began relatively late during the turn of the twentieth century; and the introduction of the concept of ‘mass education’ was only one part of a greater agenda: establishing a modern and West-inspired education system.

Research by Pei Gao, presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, studies this origin of mass education system in China. By presenting quantitative dimensions of the uneven rise of schooling across regions, the study tries to solve one puzzle: despite the political chaos and economic backwardness, modern primary education expanded at a noteworthy rate in China throughout the first half of the twentieth century. What factors drove such surprising results?

THE BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN GUINNESS: Two centuries of boom and bust in Ireland’s stock market

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Analysis of new data on share prices in Ireland stretching back to 1825 shows that stock market trends can be long-lasting even in the face of booms, busts and political upheavals. In research to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, Ronan Lyons and colleagues have compiled a monthly share price index for Irish equities that extends back to 1825 and can be broken down into different sectors, such as banking and railways.

THE MYTH OF BRITAIN’S POST-WAR SETTLEMENT: Privatisation plans were in the works well before 1979

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

The so-called ‘post-war settlement’ – in which everyone agreed that big state-owned enterprises should sit alongside private firms in a ‘mixed’ economy – was not as deeply rooted as is often believed. Nor was privatisation an invention of the Thatcher years.

According to research by Adrian Williamson, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference, influential Conservatives were seeking to advance a 'denationalisation’ agenda in the early 1960s. And Labour led the way on privatisation by selling its stake in BP – as well as devising a demanding financial regime for the nationalised industries.

PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN THE SERVICE SECTOR CAN BOOST GROWTH IN DEPRESSED REGIONS: Long-run US evidence

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Appropriate incentives can attract highly skilled workers to stagnated areas and foster economic growth, according to research by Alexandra López Cermeño to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference. There is no way service businesses will arise if there is no demand, the study notes, but public investments can trigger the growth of these markets.

LYNCHINGS IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH: New evidence of their economic roots and impact on black-white inequality today

Date:
25 Mar 2015

Summary:

Lynchings of African-Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century had an economic pattern rooted in labour markets: when demand for workers fell due to low cotton prices, white workers sought to scare black competitors away through lynchings.

That is one of the central findings of new research by Cornelius Christian to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2015 annual conference. What’s more, the study finds, past lynchings predict higher black-white inequality today.

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