Questions tagged [economic-history]

Economic history is the study of past economies and economic events.

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What happened to the dollar in Nov 1978?

Arthur Burns (1979): "Benign neglect" of the external value of the dollar came to an end dramatically, and I would hope irrevocably, in November 1978. What event(s) of Nov 1978 is Arthur ...
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Have Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, or the Fed ever responded to Laurence Ball's accusations about Lehman?

Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Timothy Geithner have repeatedly stated that they wanted to save Lehman Brothers but couldn't do so legally because Lehman didn't have enough collateral. Laurence Ball ...
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Could you recommend literature on the economy of ancient rome?

As the title states, I am looking for some sources on the economy of ancient Rome. To be more precise, I am interested mainly in the republican era (509BC - 27BC). Thanks.
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The role of Germany's economic growth in the outbreak of the Great War

This Wikipedia article shows that UK's economy was bigger than Germany's economy until 1900, but after 1910, Germany's GDP overtook UK and it became the first European economy. Imperialism is ...
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Bank Charter Act of 1844 vs banking landscape 2021 - regulatory capture or policy obsolescence?

A driving motivation for the Bank Charter Act of 1844 was to institutionalize/centralize seignorage and impose limits on how much influence commercial banks have in terms of money creation (along m4 ...
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Why is the rate of profit not important?

I've been taking some time to read up on the history of economic thought and am wondering why the rate of profit (which was a measure heavily discussed up to the 1970s) seems to disappear out of ...
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What are the economic drivers of urbanisation?

It is regularly argued that urbanisation drives economic growth (e.g. here). I wonder which are the drivers that lead to urbanisation in the first place? I believe the historical case of the ...
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78 views

Is there any economic explanation why industrialization first occured in Britain?

I am asking this question because historians often consider pre-industrialization Britain to be a poor and backward country relative to other European powers/states such as Spain, France, Italian city-...
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Are there any books on economy of the medieval England?

I would like to learn more about how the medieval economy in the UK worked. Are there any economists that research medieval society in the UK? Are there some good books on this?
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Were there any contemporary economists (or other observers) who considered the 1920s a “New Era” of greater growth and stability?

Eichengreen (2015, Hall of Mirrors): In the 1920s it was said that the world had entered a “New Era” of economic stability with the establishment of the Federal Reserve System and independent central ...
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How did the silver standard “insulate” China from the beginning of the Great Depression (1929-1931)

There is a segment from this article that I want to unpack: The Great Depression was a global crisis—almost. Every significant economy was devastated, with one notable exception: China. The reason ...
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What determines whether slavery is economically efficient in industrialized/modern era economies?

Various forms of slavery were nearly universal before the industrial revolution. After industrialization, it would naively seem forced labor would continue to be widespread, as there is no way to ...
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The Dumping Argument and Trusts

I have often heard the following argument against the antimonopoly/anticollusion law: Whenever the entrepreneurs decide to enter into "illegal" collaboration, each one has an opportunity to ...
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Are there historical cases of country A printing the currency of country B for the main purpose of economic warfare?

I recently read in a news article that a large amount of Libyan banknotes printed in Russia were seized in Malta following an order coming from the USA. Both Russia and the USA have geostrategic ...
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How are historic economic statistics calculated?

Sources like Our World in Data can have statistics that date back hundreds of years. Specifically, the Our World in Data source has a graph of GDP Per Capita in England dating all the way back 1270. ...
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In today's money, what was the value of a 1492 Spanish maravedí?

Satava (2007) estimates that the costs of Columbus's 1492 voyage was 1,765,734 maravedís. In today's money, what was the value of a 1492 Spanish maravedí?
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Was Adam Smith correct about the relative marginal productivities of capital in agriculture, manufacturing, and trade?

Adam Smith (1776): No equal capital puts into motion a greater quantity of productive labour than that of the farmer. After agriculture, the capital employed in manufactures puts into motion the ...
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Which metrics best characterise 'socialist' and 'capitalist' economies?

I am interested in finding some metrics that capture how 'socialist' or 'capitalist' a country was throughout modern history, and to include these alongside those in the gapminder dataset, to explore ...
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How long into the past can we trace the effect of institutions?

In one of my courses we recently went through several institutional economic papers (The colonial origins of comparative development, The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa, The Long-...
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According to North, Wallis, and Weingast (NWW), which states/societies have successfully made the transition to open access?

Weingast (2016) writes: The NWW framework redefines the process of economic and political development as the transition from a limited access order to an open access order. The transition is a ...
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Effects of wartime rationing on British life expectancy?

From The Economist (23 May 2020): In Britain during the 1940s life expectancy shot up by seven years, thanks to a wartime rationing system that ensured everyone had nourishing (if dull) food. I ...
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What was the “free Coynage” referred to in Dudley North's (1691) Discourses Upon Trade?

Dudley North (1691): I call to witness the vast Sums that have been coyned in England, since the free Coynage was set up; What is become of it all? no body believes it to be in the Nation, and it ...
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What did “18/9”, “25/”, and “30/” mean in this 1800 British document?

In "The Petition of the Master Taylors of London and its Vicinity, December 1800" (reproduced in Galton, 1896), it is stated the wages and allowances ... were accordingly settled at the ...
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Who owns money?

Bishop Nicole Oresme (1320-1382), in the first monetary treatise, wrote: CHAPTER VI: Who owns the Money? (Cuius sit ipsa moneta?) Although it is the duty of the prince to put his stamp on the money ...
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Is there a reference that plots different countries' debt-to-GDP ratios over (long) times?

This old blog post has an interesting plot that demonstrates that the U.K.'s current debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly below its very-long-term (180-year) average. Is there a plot anywhere that ...
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why did the 2008 financial crisis happen inspite of banks having 85% insurance on deposits in U.S.?

I read What Happened in 2008? which gives some idea and similar things are happening in India. Seems India's 2019/2020 is similar yet different as millions are educated unemployed. While I can ...
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Persistent changes in relative prices due to productivity differences

I read a couple of years ago that in the long run (in centuries) the relative price between, say, schooling and agriculture keeps increasing, since the latter sector gets more and more productive, ...
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What are some historical examples of laissez-faire capitalism?

I suspect both supporters and detractors of laissez-faire capitalism have some historical examples in mind that they consider reasonably close to an ideal or to a "natural experiment". (The examples ...
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247 views

Did capitalism exist before the 18th century?

Were there capitalistic economies before the 18th century?
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List of important business and economic news events between 1850 and 1930?

I'm collecting data on important business and economic news dates in the late 19th to early 20th century. The only list I found is this: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers-...
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How did the purported 2008 decoupling of emerging markets pan out?

One opinion voiced (in The Economist) around the 2008 recession was that: Decoupling does not mean that an American recession will have no impact on developing countries. That would be daft. The ...
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Historically has the “decoupling” of world trade from GDP not lead to (or deepened) a recession?

The ECB speaks (somewhat euphemistically, in my opinion) of a "decoupling" of world trade from "activity" (i.e. GDP) in Q1 2019: Historically, has it been the case that such a "decoupling" can last, ...
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Research and development data before 1970 for United States

I'm looking for expenditure of research and development data per sector or averaged across all sectors from the United States prior to 1970 either in absolute values or in percentage of GDP.
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rental cost of capital

I am estimating time series for rental price of capital using Hall-Jorgenson method: $$r=\frac{P_k}{P}(i-inf+\delta)$$ here, $r$ is the rental cost of capital, $P_k$ is the price of capital goods (...
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102 views

What is “industrial capitalism”?

What's the difference between "industrial capitalism" and "agrarian capitalism" and "mercantilism" and the "industrial revolution" and the 20th century ideas of "Keynesianism"? Is agrarian capitalism-...
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How long did it take before the Hawley–Smoot Tariffs reached their peak effect on US growth?

I understand that this may still be a contentious issue, but are there some estimates how long it took before the Hawley–Smoot Tariffs impacted US growth significantly and/or how long it took for them ...
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Was Haiti the richest society in the world in the late 18th century?

Samuel Bowles writes: At the close of the eighteenth century ... Haiti was probably the richest society in the world. Is the above claim true?
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Greek mathematics' application in the early economic theories

I am writing about the development of mathematics in the Ancient Greece as an assigment and I have to include its relation with economics. However, I lack of sources for this topic and I only found ...
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What were the limits of trade and exchange in the Soviet Union? What about other communist countries?

I'm particularly wondering about what implications the abolition of private property had for families. Since private property was to be abolished, I assume houses were not legally allowed to be traded ...
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Key points for a speech on Capitalism [closed]

I was given an English task in which the teacher has asked us to do a presentation/speech on Capitalism. The thing is he didn't specify which aspects (historical, economical and the political) we ...
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Who was the inventor of Utility function?

To my knowledge, the idea of representing weak-order with a function dates back to Cantor. So my questions are: 1) Was Cantor the first person to rigorize these kinds of representation? 2) Were ...
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How did Wells Fargo intend to profit by opening up two million fake accounts?

In 2016 Wells Fargo was fined $185 million dollars by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for opening up two million fake accounts, that is accounts without their customers permission. Q. How did ...
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Was Marx influenced by Ibn Khalduns Muqaddimah?

The following passage is in Ibn Khalduns Muqaddimah: One of the greatest injustices and one contributing most to the destruction of civilisation is the unjustified imposition of tasks and the use of ...
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Does the Italian national debt really go all the way back to Mussolini's excessive prewar spending?

The WWI & WWII debt is quite well defined in the UK for example and quite shocking how many years it took to pay off. Somebody told me that the Italian debt crisis really goes all the way back ...
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Military expenditure over time

The following graph from the world bank website shows the world wide military expenditure in percentage of the world GDP over time from 1988 to 2015 I am trying to find similar data over a much ...
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How much did it 'cost' slave-owning nations to emancipate the slaves as a percentage of GDP?

According to this article in the Guardian the UK Treasury tweeted in 2018: "Did you know that in 1833, Britain used £20 million pounds - which amounted to 40% of the UK GDP to buy freedom for all ...
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What are some great economic reforms from the Middle Ages / the Ancient History?

Is there any great economic structural reforms, which date back to the Middle Ages or to the Ancient times?
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Was the average person no better off in 1800 than in 100,000 BC?

I was somewhat surprised by the following claims by Gregory Clark in A Farewell to Alms, A Brief Economic History of the World (2007): the average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than ...
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How could the Roman sestertii/sesterces be converted into modern terms (say 2017 US$)?

Of course, the value of the sesterti must itself have fluctuated over the centuries it was in use. And so if I must narrow it down, I am particularly interested in its value during the time of ...
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What are good books on economic world history?

I am trying to find a book that covers human history with a special focus on economics. It should answer questions like: What economic systems prevailed during which eras? How did these systems work ...