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14.731 Economic History

Fall 2006

Political cartoon depicting 18th century Euro-American economic relations."A picturesque view of the state of the nation for February 1778." This political cartoon features characters representing America, Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Spain.  It satirizes the economic relations among the states. (Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number LC-USZ62-39591 (b&w film copy neg.)]. Originally published in Westminster Magazine 6 (March 1, 1778): 66.)

Course Highlights

This course features a detailed list of readings as well as an extensive list of study materials essential to the term paper, which can be found in the assignments section.

Course Description

This course offers a comprehensive survey of world economic history, designed to introduce economics graduate students to the subject matter and methodology of economic history. Topics are chosen to show a wide variety of historical experience and illuminate the process of industrialization. A final term paper is due at the end of the course.


*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.





Syllabus

Course Overview

We will endeavor to teach you about three things in the course:

  1. Economic History, in particular, processes like industrialization and demographic change that took a long time, and policies that affected them.

  2. Applied Economics, emphasizing the great variety of approaches that have been used to formulate and test hypotheses.

  3. Paper Writing, by examining critically the economic-history literature and giving you an opportunity to practice writing a paper suitable for a professional journal (as some term papers, after revision, have been).


Course Requirements

The assigned reading should be completed before the date noted on the syllabus. Class discussion will be more productive and enjoyable if you have done the reading. There will be a short final exam in the last scheduled class period and a term paper that is due at the end of the semester. Additional details about the paper can be found in the assignments section.

The term paper is the most important part of the written requirement for this subject. Extensions will be given only for unanticipated events. Late papers will receive lowered grades on a gradient that makes passing this course problematical with a paper that is more than a few days late. Plan accordingly.



Calendar


LEC #TOPICS
Agrarian Economies and the Industrial Revolution
1Ancient Rome
2Early Modern Europe
3European Expansion
4Malthusian Demography
5The Demographic Transition
6English Financial Institutions
7The Industrial Revolution: Description
8The Industrial Revolution: Analysis
The Spread of Industrialization
9Northern Europe
10Southern Europe
11Africa
12Ottoman and Russian Empires
13China
14Japan
15Latin America
The United States
16Industrialization in the North
17The South and Slavery
18The Aftermath of Slavery
19Labor Participation
20The Modern Corporation
The Twentieth Century
21The Great Depression
22Recovery
23The Economics of Wars
24Assessing U.S. Growth
25Inequality
Final Exam




Readings

Amazon logo When you click the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book (or other media) from Amazon.com, MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of this purchase and any other purchases you make during that visit. This will not increase the cost of your purchase. Links provided are to the US Amazon site, but you can also support OCW through Amazon sites in other regions. Learn more.


LEC #TOPICSREADINGS
Agrarian Economies and the Industrial Revolution
1Ancient RomeTemin, Peter. "The Economy of the Early Roman Empire." Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 2006): 133-51.
2Early Modern EuropeAllen, Robert C. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War." Explorations in Economic History 38 (October 2001): 411-47.

Greif, Avner, Paul Milgrom, and Barry R. Weingast. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild." Journal of Political Economy 102 (August 1994): 745-76.
3European ExpansionAmazon logo Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Co., 1997, chapter 18, pp. 354-75. ISBN: 0393038912.

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation." American Economic Review 91 (December 2001): 1369-1401.
4Malthusian DemographyAmazon logo Laslett, Peter. The World We Have Lost: Further Explored. 3rd ed. London, UK: Menthuen, 1983, chapters 4-5, pp. 81-121. ISBN: 0416353401.

Amazon logo Lee, Ronald. "An Historical Perspective on Economic Aspects of the Population Explosion." In Population and Economic Change in Developing Countries. Edited by Richard Easterlin. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 517-557. ISBN: 0226180263.

Chiang, Chin Long. "The Life table and its construction." In Introduction to Stochastic Processes in Biostatistics. New York, NY: John Wiley, 1968, chapter 9, pp. 189-217.
5The Demographic TransitionBoyer, George. "Malthus Was Right After All: Poor Relief and Birth Rates in Southeastern England." Journal of Political Economy 97 (February 1989): 93-114.

Crafts, N. F. R. "Some Dimensions of the 'Quality of Life' during the British Industrial Revolution." Economic History Review 50 (November 1997): 617-39.

Fogel, Robert W., and Dora L. Costa. "A Theory of Technophysio Evolution, with some Implications for Forecasting Population, Health Care Costs, and Pension Costs." Demography 34 (February 1997): 49-66.
6English Financial InstitutionsNorth, Doughlas C., and Barry R. Weingast. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England." Journal of Economic History 49 (December 1989): 803-832.

Neal, Larry, and Stephen Quinn. "Networks of Information, Markets, and Institutions in the Rise of London as a Financial Centre, 1660-1720." Financial History Review 8 (April 2001): 7-26.

Brunt, Liam. "Rediscovering Risk: Country Banks as Venture Capital Firms in the First Industrial Revolution." Journal of Economic History 66 (March 2006): 74-102.
7The Industrial Revolution: DescriptionAmazon logo Ashton, T. S. The Industrial Revolution, 1760-1830. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 1948. ISBN: B000E6903S.
8The Industrial Revolution: AnalysisTemin, Peter, and Hans-Joachim Voth. "Credit Rationing and Crowding Out during the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from Hoare's Bank, 1702-1862." Explorations in Economic History 42 (July 2005): 325-48.

Voth, Hans-Joachim. "Time and Work in Eighteenth-Century London." Journal of Economic History 58 (March 1998): 29-58.
The Spread of Industrialization
9Northern EuropeAmazon logo Gerschenkron, Alexander. Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: Essays by Alexander Gerschenkron. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962, chapter 1, pp. 5-30. ISBN: 0674226003.

Moser, Petra. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs." American Economic Review 95 (September 2005): 1214-36.

O'Rourke, Kevin H. "The European Grain Invasion, 1870-1913." Journal of Economic History 57 (December 1997): 775-801.
10Southern EuropeBerger, Helge, and Mark Spoerer. "Economic Crises and the European Revolutions of 1848." Journal of Economic History 61 (June 2001): 293-326.

Amazon logo Putnam, Robert D., Robert Leonardi, and Raffaella Nanetti. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993, chapter 5, pp. 121-62. ISBN: 0691078890.

Toniolo, Gianni, Leandro Conte, and Giovanni Vecchi. "Monetary Union, Institutions and Financial Market Integration." Explorations in Economic History 40 (October 2003): 443-61.
11AfricaAmazon logo Feinstein, Charles H. An Economic History of South Africa: Conquest, Discrimination, and Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005, chapters 3-4, pp. 47-89. ISBN. 0521850916.
12Ottoman and Russian EmpiresPamuk, Sevket. "Estimating Economic Growth in the Middle East since 1820." Journal of Economic History. (Forthcoming, September 2006.)

Amazon logo Allen, Robert C. Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003, chapters 1-2, pp. 1-46. ISBN: 0691006962.

Johnson, Simon, and Peter Temin. "The Macroeconomics of NEP." Economic History Review 46 (November 1993): 750-767.
13ChinaBroadberry, Stephen, and Bishnupriya Gupta. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices, and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800." Economic History Review 59 (February 2006): 2-31.

Miron, Jeffrey A., and Chris Feige. "The Opium Wars, Opium Legislation, and Opium Consumption in China." Discussion Paper No. 2072. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute of Economics Research, May 2005.

Amazon logo Richardson, Philip. Economic Change in China, c. 1800-1950. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, chapters 2, 4, and 7, pp. 16-24, 40-53, and 84-97. ISBN: 0521583969.
14JapanAmazon logo Flath, David. The Japanese Economy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, chapter 2, pp. 21-42. ISBN: 0198775040.

Bernhofen, Daniel M., and John C. Brown. "An Empirical Assessment of the Comparative Advantage Gains from Trade: Evidence from Japan." American Economic Review 95 (March 2005): 208-25.
15Latin AmericaAmazon logo Engerman, Stanley L., and Kenneth L. Sokoloff. "Factor Endowments, Institutions, and Differential Paths of Growth Among New World Economies: A View from Economic Historians of the United States." In How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800-1914. Edited by Stephen Haber. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997, pp. 260-304. ISBN: 0804727376.

Frank, Zephyr L. "Exports and Inequality: Evidence from the Brazilian Frontier, 1870-1937." Journal of Economic History 61 (March 2001): 37-58.

Haber, Stephen. "Mexico Before 1982: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Rule." In The Second Mexican Revolution: Politics, Economics and Society Since 1982. Edited by Stephen Haber, et al. (Forthcoming.)
The United States
16Industrialization in the NorthIrwin, Douglas A. "The Aftermath of Hamilton's 'Report on Manufactures'." Journal of Economic History 64 (September 2004): 800-21.

Goldin, Claudia, and Kenneth Sokoloff. "Women, Children, and Industrialization in the Early Republic: Evidence from the Manufacturing Census." Journal of Economic History 42 (December 1982): 741-74.

Calomiris, Charles W. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary?" Journal of Economic History 50 (June 1990): 283-95.
17The South and SlaveryAmazon logo Fogel, Robert William. Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York, NY: Norton, 1989, chapter 3, pp. 60-80. ISBN: 0393018873.

Steckel, Richard H. "A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity." Journal of Economic History 46 (1986): 721-41.
18The Aftermath of SlaveryAlston, Lee J., and Joseph P. Ferrie. "Paternalism in Agricultural Labor Contracts in the U.S. South: Implications for the Growth of the Welfare States." American Economic Review 83 (September 1993): 852-76.

Sacerdote, Bruce. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital." Review of Economics and Statistics. (Forthcoming.)

Heckman, James J. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina." American Economic Review 79 (March 1989): 138-77.
19Labor ParticipationAmazon logo Goldin, Claudia. Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1990, chapters 4-5, pp. 83-158. ISBN: 0195050770.

Costa, Dora. "Pensions and Retirement: Evidence from Union Army Veterans." Quarterly Journal of Economics 110 (May 1995): 297-320.
20The Modern CorporationAmazon logo Chandler, Alfred Dupont, and Takashi Hikino. Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1990, chapter 2, pp. 14-46. ISBN: 0674789946.

Granitz, Elizabeth, and Benjamin Klein. "Monopolization by 'Raising Rivals' Costs': The Standard Oil Case." Journal of Law and Economics 32 (April 1996): 1-47.
The Twentieth Century
21The Great DepressionAmazon logo Temin, Peter. Lessons from the Great Depression. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989, chapters 1-2, pp. 1-87. ISBN: 0262200732.

Bernanke, Ben. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression." American Economic Review 73 (June 1983): 257-76.

———. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach." Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 27 (1995): 1-28.
22RecoveryAmazon logo Temin, Peter. Lessons from the Great Depression. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989, chapter 3, pp. 89-137. ISBN: 0262200732.

Amazon logo Obstfeld, Maurice, and Alan M. Taylor. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run." In The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Michael D. Bordo, Claudia Dale Goldin, and Eugene Nelson White. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 353-402. ISBN: 0226065898.

Amazon logo Gordon, Robert J. "Interpreting the 'One Big Wave' in U.S. Long-term Productivity Growth." In Productivity, Technology and Economic Growth. Edited by Bart van Ark, Simon K. Kuipers, and Gerard H. Kuper. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000, pp. 19-65. ISBN: 0792379608. Reprinted in Amazon logo Gordon, Robert J. Productivity Growth, Inflation and Unemployment: The Collected Essays of Robert J. Gordon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 50-89. ISBN: 0521800080.
23The Economics of WarsCosta, Dora L., and Matthew E. Kahn. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War." Quarterly Journal of Economics 118, no. 2 (May 2003): 519-48.

Thompson, Peter. "How Much Did the Liberty Ship Builders Learn? New Evidence on an Old Case Study." Journal of Political Economy 109, no. 1 (February 2001): 103-37.
24Assessing U.S. GrowthRomer, Christina. "New Estimates of Prewar Gross National Product and Unemployment." Journal of Economic History 46, no. 2 (1986): 341-352.

Costa, Dora L. "Estimating Real Income in the United States from 1888 to 1994: Correcting CPI Bias Using Engel Curves." Journal of Political Economy 109 (December 2001): 1288-1310.
25InequalityGoldin, Claudia, and Robert A. Margo. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century." Quarterly Journal of Economics 107 (February 1992): 1-34.

Amazon logo Goldin, Claudia, and Lawrence F. Katz. "Decreasing (and then Increasing) Inequality in America: A Tale of Two Half-Centuries." In The Causes and Consequences of Increasing Inequality. Edited by Finis Welch. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 37-77. ISBN: 0226893014.

Costa, Dora L. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991." Journal of Labor Economics 18 (January 2000): 156-181.
Final Exam




Assignments

Term Paper

The term paper for 14.731 is the first research paper in the graduate program in Economics at MIT. Students are asked to choose a topic from the syllabus, class discussion, or their own experience. They then formulate a testable hypothesis, for example, whether a paper on the syllabus can be extended or tested by a new test. The students collect data and perform the tests indicated. Econometrics can be used, but is not required. The readings section contains many papers for comparison that use qualitative data not susceptible to econometric treatment.

The paper does not require the use of quantitative information. You may want to use qualitative information. However, some of you may want to do a statistical analysis using micro data. All of you will need to know which published sources are available and where they can be found. For that information, please consult the study materials section.





Exams

Final Exam (2003)

Answer three questions based upon the class readings. They all have equal weight. Please write the numbers of the question you are answering on the front of your bluebooks.

  1. Lessons, which was written in the 1980s)?





Study Materials

Amazon logo When you click the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book (or other media) from Amazon.com, MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of this purchase and any other purchases you make during that visit. This will not increase the cost of your purchase. Links provided are to the US Amazon site, but you can also support OCW through Amazon sites in other regions. Learn more.




The Search for Data: Finding and Using Published Sources

Note that finding primary sources is easiest for the United States. You can find a fair number of primary sources for Britain and somewhat fewer for France. Other countries present even greater difficulties. Keep this in mind in thinking about topics. Students who end up focusing on the 1970s onwards because they cannot find earlier data tend not to do well on the paper.



Machine Readable Data

Hardly any non-U.S. data are available. Most of the U.S. data date from the end of the nineteenth century onwards.

Most publicly available data are stored with ICPSR. To browse their collection, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.

Available ICPSR data:

Data archives similar to ICPSR exist in other countries as well. See the Council of European Social Science Data Archives. The History Data Service, part of the Archives at the University of Essex has a particularly rich collection of historical data.

Other data:

  1. Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota. The entire 1880 U.S. and 1881 Canadian censuses are also available from North Atlantic Population Project.

  2. Economic History Services, directly downloadable or an author contact - collection includes Europe and ranges from time series data to various micro datasets such as U.S. surveys of workers.

  3. NBER Reporter, U.S. micro data and world macroeconomic data.

  4. University of Chicago, Union Armyveterans and assorted public health datasets.

  5. The Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley, aggregate vital statistics data for various countries and Prussian (1875-1914) and Croatian (1700-1900) micro data on baptisms, marriages, and burials.

  6. Department of Economics Joseph P. Ferrie.

  7. Economics Faculty Jeremy Atack.

  8. Institute of Governmental Affairs UCDAVIS.

Other data can be obtained by directly contacting individuals.

This list will mainly be useful if you are working on the nineteenth century or later.

Historical newspaper databases include Proquest's New York Times Historical Archives and Historical Wall Street Journal and are accessible from the libraries Web page.

Note that MIT keeps older material, including published census volumes, in its Retrospective Collection (RSC). Primary sources are also available at Harvard's Widener, Littauer (federal and state government reports), Lamont (census volumes), Guttman (education volumes), and Baker (business history) libraries. Most Littauer volumes will not show up on the online catalogue. The Boston Public Library contains Massachusetts state reports.

Three volumes that you should be familiar with are:

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975.

Amazon logo Mitchell, B. R. British Historical Statistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988. ISBN: 0521330084.

Amazon logo ———. European Historical Statistics. London, UK: Macmillan, 1975. ISBN: 0333120582.

Other sources you might find useful are:

Historical Published U.S. Census Information: Historical Census Browser.

Digitized U.S. Statistical Yearbooks: Statistical Abstracts.

Digitized U.S. Census Volumes (Incomplete): Census of Population and Housing.

STAT-USA, NIPA numbers.

BLS CPI Series: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Banking and Monetary Statistics. Washington, DC: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1943.

Amazon logo Capie, Forrest, and Michael Collins. The Inter-war British Economy: A Statistical Abstract. Dover, NH: Manchester University Press, 1983. ISBN: 0719009014.

Amazon logo Capie, F., and A. Weber. A Monetary History of the United Kingdom, 1870-1982, Volume 1, Data, Sources, and Methods. Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin, 1985. ISBN: 004332097X.

Amazon logo Feinstein, C. National Income, Expenditure, and Output of the United Kingdom, 1855-1965. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1972. ISBN: 0521072301.

Amazon logo Friedman, M., and A. Schwartz. Monetary Trends in the United States and United Kingdom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982. ISBN: 0226264092.

Amazon logo Goldsmith, Raymond W. Comparative National Balance Sheets: A Study of Twenty Countries, 1688-1978. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1985. ISBN: 0226301532.

Kuznets, S. S. 1966. Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961.

American Philosophical Society. Population Redistribution and Economic Growth, United States, 1870-1950: Methodological Considerations and Reference Tables. Philadelphia, PA: The Society, 1957.

Levy-Leboyer, Maurice et Bourguinon, Franois. 1985. L'économie française au XIXe siècle. Analyse macro-économique. Paris: Economica, 1985. (Also available in English.)

Amazon logo Marchand O. et C. Thelot. 1991. Deux Siècles de travail en France, 1800-2000. Paris: Nathan, 1997. ISBN: 209190435X.

Amazon logo Matthews, R. C. O., C. H. Feinstein, and J. C. Odling-Smee. British Economic Growth, 1856-1973. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982. ISBN: 0804711100.

Urquhart, M. C., and K. A. H. Buckley. The Historical Statistics of Canada. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1965.

Collver, Clinton. Industrial Securities. New York, NY: Moody's Investors Service, 1919.

Conference on Research in Income and Wealth. Trends in the American Economy in the Nineteenth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960.

Office du Travail. Ministere du Commèrce, de l'Industrie des Postes et des Telegraphes. Salaires et duree du travail dans l'industrie française. Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1893-97. (4 volumes.)

Censuses of population and statistical yearbooks.

Assorted reports from government agencies.

Price series that can be obtained from private sources such as railroad freight rates and Montgomery Ward's catalogues.




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