YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinars

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinars 2020

March 2020 - June 2020

We’re launching a webinar in Economic History. We want to give grad students an occasion to get feedback on their ongoing quarantine work.

Webinar Series

Description

We’re launching a virtual graduate seminar in Economic History ! 60 minute online talks with discussion, free to everyone to sign up and participate.
It will be a good way for economic history graduate students to stay in touch and make everybody feel more energized and motivated. This would also be the occasion to get feedback on your ongoing quarantine work. It also aims to make up for all the cancelled conferences and seminars where we would have tested our research.

The seminars will be held on Zoom and last 60 minutes:

  • 45 minutes of presentation
  • 15 minutes of Q&A.

If you are interested to attend in the webinar please register using this form. You do not need to be registered with YSI to attend but we encourage all young scholars to join the community.

Program:

  • 29 April: Meredith Paker, Oxford, The Slow Employment Recovery After the Early 1980s UK Recession
  • 13 May: Matthew Curtis, UC Davis, Before the fall: Child quantity and quality in pre–transition Quebec
  • 20 May: Homer Wagenaar, QUB, Patently Peculiar: Understanding the Impact of the Patent System of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1815-1830
  • 27 May: Gerda Asmus, Heidelberg-UCSD, State Presence and Local Economic Development: the Russian State in the Urals
  • 3 June: Blessy Abraham, University of Delhi, Protection versus Preference: Behind the scenes Of Indian Tariff Policy Debates, 1905-1922
  • 10 June: Lena Song, NYU, The Role of Culture and Competition in Media Diversity: Historical Evidence from U.S. Radio Stations
  • 17 June: Thea Don-Siemion, LSE, Interwar Poland’s Late Exit from Gold: A Case of Government as ‘Conservative Central Banker’
  • 24 June: Sophia Liu, Boston U, Evaluating the Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: The Role of the Great Depression

If you have any question or feedback, please email us at eh@youngscholarsinitiative.org. We will get in touch with you as soon as we can.

The YSI graduate seminar in Economic history is a joint collaboration between Alain Naef, Jean Lacroix & Maylis Avaro with support from The Young Scholars Initiative, from the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York.

UPCOMING EVENTS

There are no upcoming events in this project.

PAST EVENTS

Online

29 Apr 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: First meeting - Meredith M. Paker

*EVENT UPDATE: to access the webinar, please use ONLY the link sent separately by email. * In this first session of the YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar, Meredith M. Paker, PhD student at the University of Oxford, will present her work: The Slow Employment Recovery After the Early 1980s UK Recession If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. The Slow Employment Recovery After the Early 1980s UK Recession The early 1980s recession was a global economic event, but its effects on the UK labor market were particularly severe. Despite output recovering in 1981, the unemployment rate remained over 10% through 1987, higher than almost all other western countries. Taking the US as a comparison case, I analyze how the interacting forces of industrial reallocation, job polarization, and regional effects combined to create this early “jobless recovery” in the UK. Using newly digitized Employment Gazette data and ONS confidential data, I find that structural change contributed significantly to the sluggish employment recovery. Sectoral reallocation was larger and more persistent in the UK than in the US as economic activity rapidly shifted from manufacturing to services and finance. The marked regional disparities in the UK during this period can largely be attributed to the divergent experiences of industries in the 1980s, causing some regions to be structurally disadvantaged. Finally, while job polarization was occurring in the UK, a significant portion of these effects were due to the shifting industrial structure. I also consider possible drivers of this rapid structural change, connecting Dutch Disease models from the 1980s with more recent open economy structural change models. Lastly, I explore some of the labor supply consequences, considering the experiences of displaced workers, women, and minority groups.

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Online

13 May 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Matthew Curtis

Matthew Curtis, PhD Candidate at the Department of Economics at UC Davis will present his work: *Before the fall: Child quantity and quality in pre–transition Quebec. * If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:While it plays a key role in theories of the transition to modern economic growth, there are few estimates of the quantity–quality trade–off from before the demographic transition. Using a uniquely suitable new dataset of vital records, I provide several estimates of the trade–off in Quebec between 1620 and 1850.First, I exploit the fact that twin births, conditional on mother’s age and parity, are a random increase in family size. I estimate that one additional child who survived past age 1 decreased the literacy rate (proxied by signatures) of their older siblings by 5 percentage points. Second, I argue that the aggregate province wide mortality rate during the year a younger child is born was exogenous to individual family characteristics. Using this as an negative shock to family size, I again estimate that one additional child who survived past age 1 decreased the literacy rate of their older siblings by 5 percentage points.As two very different instruments result in similar estimates, I argue there is strong evidence of a modest trade–off. Moreover, by using two instruments I am able to rule out bias from reinforcement and compensation effects. In many settings, IV estimates of the trade–off may be biased if parents reallocate resources towards (reinforcement) or away from (compensation) children with higher endowments. Here, I show that both twins and children born in years with high aggregate infant mortality rates have on average lower literacy rates than their older siblings. As one shock increases and one shock decreases family size, but both result in older siblings having relatively higher endowments, reinforcement or compensation would bias the estimates in different directions. As the estimates are similar, I conclude there is no evidence that parents practiced reinforcement of compensation. Is the estimated trade–off economically significant? I compare Quebec to a society with similar culture and institutions: pre–Revolutionary rural France. In 1628–1788, a woman surviving to age 40 in Quebec would expect to have 1.7 additional children surviving past age 1 compared to her rural French peers. I average literacy rate in France was about 9.5 percentage points higher than in Quebec. Assuming the trade–off was a linear and constant 5 percentage points, reducing family sizes to French levels would have increased literacy by 8.6 percentage points in the next generation, closing most of the gap.However, pre–Revolutionary France was hardly a human capital rich society. Proxying for the presence of the primary educators of the period — clergy — with unmarried adults, I find preliminary evidence that the trade–off was steeper in areas of Quebec with greater access to education. Altogether, I interpret my results as evidence that the trade–off existed and can explain at least some differences across societies. However, for it to allow a more radical transformation of society, it would need to have become much steeper, perhaps through increased access to education.

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Online

20 May 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Homer Wagenaar

Homer Wagenaar, PhD student at the Queen's university, Belfast, will present his joint work with Christopher L. Colvin: Patently Peculiar: Understanding the Impact of the Patent System of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1815-1830 If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:How accessible was the patent system of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands? How did the accessibility of the patent system matter in light of the diverging development paths of the Netherlands and Belgium? To answer these questions, we make use of a new hand-collected database of all requested patents, both rejected and accepted, between 1815 and 1830, when there was a political union between Belgium and the Netherlands. Our data contain personal characteristics of all patent applicants, including occupation and place of residence. This database is itself an important contribution because most (historical) patent research only makes use of accepted patents, thereby obfuscating the effects patent systems have on selecting success. Our unique data allow us to explore the relationship between the personal characteristics of patentees and their success rate, and to test regional differences in the use of the patent system. Our case is remarkable because the kingdom’s law of 1817 combined a patent examination process with significant state discretion on patent length and costs, as well as the option to offer rewards and prizes. The state could, and did, regularly make patents free for patentees who could not afford the application fees. Our case is important because the southern Netherlands (i.e. Belgium) industrialised early alongside Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution, but the northern Netherlands did not. While both polities ostensibly shared the same patent system, they had very different experiences of innovation and technical change. This research thus sheds new light on the supposed connection between patent legislation and innovation.

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Online

27 May 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Gerda Asmus

Gerda Asmus, Phd candidate from Heidelberg University and UCSD will present her work: State Presence and Local Economic Development: the Russian State in the Urals. If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:Abstract: This study investigates the causal effect of the state's monopoly of violence on economic growth at the subnational level. The analysis uses geographic regression discontinuity methods along the boundary created by the largest peasant rebellion in 18th century Russia. It compares changes in economic outcomes in formerly rebel-held areas where the Russian state increased its presence after the uprising ended to those where it did not. The results show that increased state presence fostered the development of roads and of military installations. By WWI, state presence had increased human capital formation but had had a more limited impact on industrialization.

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Online

3 Jun 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Blessy Abraham

Blessy Abraham, PhD candidate from the University of Delhi, will present her work: Protection versus Preference: Behind the scenes Of Indian Tariff Policy Debates, 1905-1922. If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:The paper seeks to explore how the continuous debates on tariff protectionism for domestic industries, and preferential tariffs to help boost inter-Imperial trade, impacted the way colonial governments of the white Dominions state and of India, negotiated their relationships with London. It shows that debates on preferential treatment were not exclusive only to India but part of larger raging debate since early twentieth century. By doing so, my intention is not just to plot a singular narrative that sees India and Britain occupying important roles within the debate on Imperial Preference, but also to better explore the international conversations that ranged around the question of tariff strategies especially on the global platform of various Imperial Conferences. I suggest that these Conferences were arenas where not only views on Imperial commercial unity were redefined but also that it was a contested space where Colonies sought to negotiate and reshape their distance and position in relation to the central importance of Great Britain to their trading domains.Moreover, not only did these inter-Empire debates laid the roots for tariff demands in India but it also allowed Indian capitalist groups to reimagine a future of a self-reliant India based on industrialization through tariffs. But it also brought them in conflict with government policy advisors who disagreed with the usage of tariff protectionism as means to achieve this new utopic future. The establishment of Indian Tariff Commission and later the first Indian Tariff Board in 1925, mirrors these anxieties and ambitions. My main argument is then to propose how tariff strategies for India were not only influenced by international events but also how it was also an uncomfortable mixture of varying visions and diverse political ambitions.

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Online

10 Jun 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Lena Song

Lena Song, PhD candidate from NYU, will present her work: *The Role of Culture and Competition in Media Diversity: Historical Evidence from U.S. Radio Stations * If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:This paper examines the role racial discrimination, technical change and competition play in programme choice of radio stations in the post-war Jim Crow era. I construct a novel, comprehensive dataset of all commercial radio stations across the U.S. from 1946 to 1958, including station-level financial information and black programming hours. This provides a new panel measure of racial diversity in the media across the country. By comparing profitability of black and other radio stations, I address the question whether racial discrimination by firms led to underprovision of content for minorities. Based on existing work on product positioning, I build a theoretical framework to model programming choice in radio market to back out a measure of firm owner discrimination. Finally, I test if competitive pressure from the introduction of TV reduces media market discrimination.

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Online

17 Jun 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Thea Don-Siemion

Thea Don-Siemion PhD student at LSE, will present her work: Interwar Poland’s Late Exit from Gold: A Case of Government as ‘Conservative Central Banker’ If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:Over the past several decades, the literature on the Great Depression, following the seminal contributions of Friedman and Schwartz (1963), Eichengreen and Sachs (1986), Eichengreen (1991), and Bernanke and James (1991), has attained a near-consensus that that the most important determinant of the severity of the crisis in various countries was central bankers’ willingness to cut loose from the international gold-exchange standard and regain their freedom of action over monetary policy. As Wolf’s (2008) comparative analysis of the timing of Europe’s exits from gold indicates, the case of Poland is somewhat puzzling in the light of the conventional view: Poland’s actual exit from the gold standard occurred almost two years after the date predicted by a wide range of covariates including trade ties with France, Polity-IV score, and past devaluations, leaving only in April 1936. This paper sheds light on the mystery of Poland’s late exit through two parallel channels. Qualitatively, I use evidence from Polish and (in future) French archives to identify the motivations behind Polish policymakers’ costly efforts to defend the gold standard, or, in the words of Finance Minister Kwiatkowski, to “give up blood, but not gold”. I find evidence that geopolitical considerations in connection with the military alliance with France were of vital importance inconditioning Poland’s decision to stay on gold. These priorities were abruptly reversed in March 1936, when France’s failure to oppose Hitler’s entry into the Rhineland made a reorientation of the Polish economy toward national defence a matter of urgency. Arguably the major contribution of this paper, however, is quantitative. I collect data from two hitherto-untapped sources: the short-form balance sheets of the Bank of Poland, comprising data on the Bank of Poland’s gold reserves, foreign exchange reserves, discounts, lending, deposits, note issue, and gold cover ratio, and a panel of around 300 domestic and foreign economic variables published by Poland’s Central Statistical Office. Using this data, I conduct a VAR analysis of the interconnections between the French and Polish capital markets, and the extent to which Polish monetary policy was responsive to developments in Paris.The evidence that I collect provides a counterexample to Rogoff’s (1985) argument that delegation of monetary policy to an actor without a social mandate to stabilise output will lead to tighter policy. From the 1931 crisis onward, the Bank of Poland’s desire to devalue the Zloty was being held in check by the government’s geopolitically motivated determination to maintain convertibility, made effective by a de facto takeover of the hitherto independent Bank by the government, and the government’s ability to force through parliament the fiscal and tariff legislation necessary to maintain the Bank of Poland’s reserves. Whereas the Polish historiography claims that Poland’s 1936 exit from gold was forced by a sharp drop in reserves in March and April of that year, the high-frequency data shows no evidence of such a fall before the decision to impose capital controls was taken.

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Online

24 Jun 2020

Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Sophia Liu

Sophia Liu, PhD candidate from Boston University, will present her work: Evaluating the Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: The Role of the Great Depression If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8 Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar. Abstract:Previous work by Almond (2006) argued that the 1918 flu pandemic lowered the educationalattainment of birth cohorts directly affected by the health shock. However, neither Almond nor any of the subsequent literature critiquing his original paper considered that the treated cohorts reached the cusp of the decision to attend high school in 1932-33, at the nadir of the Great Depression. One view is that the Depression increased high school attendance because the opportunity cost – the value of employment for young teenagers – had fallen sharply. However, another hypothesis is that secondary workers, including young teens, increased their labor supply – the so-called added worker effect – in response to the unemployment of household heads. If these economic effects interacted with health status, it is possible that the long-run impact of the pandemic on educational attainment, as estimated by Almond, may have been exacerbated or mitigated.To explore the interaction effect, I first construct a sample of the relevant birth cohorts linked to the 1920, 1930, and 1940 complete count censuses, using the machine learning approach pioneered by Feigenbaum (2016). My linkage rates are similar to other studies using this approach, and the final sample contains 141,627 individuals, more than sufficient for econometric analysis. Crucially, the linkage establishes where individuals were born, where they lived in 1930; and, through the final link, where they lived in 1940 (and 1935), so I can match geographic variation in the relative severities of the influenza pandemic and the GreatDepression to individual locations. The severity of the Great Depression is captured at different geographies by county-level retail sales, state-level employment, and county or city level unemployment from the 1930 unemployment census. The relative severities of the two events, especially when measured at the county or city level, are sufficiently independent to provide identification of the interaction effect. A rich set of household-level variables is included as additional control variables.My preliminary findings indicate that, overall, the Depression moderated the effects of thepandemic on the treated cohorts; that is, if the Great Depression had been less severe (or not happened at all), Almond and others would have found larger negative effects on educational attainment. My results indicate the importance of considering how studies of the long-run effects of pandemics and other “natural disasters” need to take account of subsequent economic shocks that may interact with them, depending on the severity of the subsequent shocks and their timing during the lifecycles of the treated cohorts.

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Working groups
  • Economic History
Project Organizers
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Maylis Avaro

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Alain Naef

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Jean Lacroix

For questions, the Project Organizers.

YSI Webinar

YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Gerda Asmus

May 27 2020, 14:00

Gerda Asmus, Phd candidate from Heidelberg University and UCSD will present her work: State Presence and Local Economic Development: the Russian State in the Urals.

If you wish to attend, please register for the entire series here: https://forms.gle/LtqDgzoDtAojZg1S8

Attendees will receive by email on Wednesday morning the link to join the webinar.

Abstract:
Abstract: This study investigates the causal effect of the state's monopoly of violence on economic growth at the subnational level. The analysis uses geographic regression discontinuity methods along the boundary created by the largest peasant rebellion in 18th century Russia. It compares changes in economic outcomes in formerly rebel-held areas where the Russian state increased its presence after the uprising ended to those where it did not. The results show that increased state presence fostered the development of roads and of military installations. By WWI, state presence had increased human capital formation but had had a more limited impact on industrialization.

Recording

No recording available.

Time & Date

Start: May 27 2020, 14:00*

Duration: 60 minutes

*Time is displayed in your local time zone (Africa/Abidjan).

Presenters
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Gerda Asmus

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Topic: YSI - Economic History Graduate Webinar: Gerda Asmus

Time: May 27 2020, 14:00 (Timezone: Africa/Abidjan)

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