Economics 113: The Omnibus Great-Depression-and-After Lecture Notes File
20050301 Econ 113 Lecture: Great Depression: Building Tools
20050224 Econ 113 Lecture: Gilded Age and Progressive Era
20050222: Econ 113: Lecture: Civil War and Gilded Age
20050210: Economics 113 Lecture: Slavery: Cui Bono?
20050208: Econ 113 Lecture: Slavery 1
20050203 Econ 113 Lecture: Industrializing America Before the Civil War
20050201 Econ 113 Lecture: The Pre Civil War United States--Growth of an Agrarian Civilization
A Key Invention
20050201 Econ 113 Class Opening Question
Office Hours This Week
20050127: Economics 113: Lecture Notes--Colonial Economy
20050127: Economics 113: Lecture Notes--Colonial Economy
20050127: Econ 113: Class Opening Question
20050127: Econ 113: Class Opening Question
20050125: Econ 113 Lecture Notes--Colonization
20050125: Econ 113: Class Opening Question
20050125 Econ 113--Notes from Richard Halkett Section
20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians
20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians
20050118: Econ 113 Opening Lecture Notes
20050118: Econ 113 Opening Lecture Notes

May 10, 2005

Economics 113: The Omnibus Great-Depression-and-After Lecture Notes File

The Great Depression IIThe New Deal as Macroeconomic Policy: Did It Do Any Good?Parts of the New Deal that Boosted Demand:Abandonment of the gold standardBanking-sector reorganizationAbandonment of Hoover's balanced-budget ruleRelief expendituresWhich of these were most important? W. Arthur Lewis believed that banking-sector reorganization and abandonment of the gold standard--which broke deflationary expectations--were the most important...But There Were Also Parts of the New Deal that Reduced Demand:The cartelization program of the National Industrial Recovery Act (struck down as unconstitutional in 1934)After fears of deflation were broken in 1933, any further attempts to boost prices (agricultural price floors, support of unionization, et...

World War II

Origins of World War II

Rough Numbers with Respect to Military Production (as percent of Nazi Germany):

450%: U.S.150%: Britain
100%: Germany
80%: Russia
25%: Japan
15%: Italy

The wonder is not that the allies won, but that the axis powers--out-produced five-to-one--held on for so long. Professional excellence of the Nazi Army and of the start-of-war Japanese fleet...

50 million dead in World War II--6 million Jews, 5 million Chinese civilians, 5 million Russian civilians, 4 million Russian POWs, 2 million Polish civilians, et cetera... plus all the battle and military deaths...

World War II Cured the Depression in the U.S.:


Labor and Capital

America's Commitment to Education

America and Unions: The Early Stages

America and Unions: The Great Depression and After

Rolling Back Unionized America

Investment Banking: Routing Around Capital Market Failures

Finance After the Great Depression

Investment, Resources, Invention, and Technological Change


Upward Mobility

Horatio Alger and Benjamin Franklin

All This Changes in the Middle of the Gilded Age:

The Closing of the Frontier and the Great Immigration Wave

Ending the Gilded Age

Middle-Class America

The Returns to Skill

The Anemia of Social Democracy in America

Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?


Focus on Women

The Weaker Vessel

Wage Discrimination and Job Segregation

A Balance Sheet for Feminism?


Focus on African-Americans


Governing the Post-World War II Macroeconomy

The "accelerationist" Phillips curve: its location depends on (a) the natural rate of unemployment, and (b) the expected rate of inflation...

[Standard macroeconomic Phillips curve discussion: Federal Reserve is desperate to keep expectations of inflation low, because if expectations of inflation become high--then there are no good options]* The sad case of President Mitterand of France

The problem of the Reagan deficits... and the Bush deficits... why is fiscal responsibility so hard in the modern era?


Productivity Slowdowns and New Economies

Causes of the productivity slowdown:

The productivity slowdown gave us an 'age of diminished expectations':

Most likely scenario: a bunch of things hitting at once...

The productivity speedup of the 1990s

Why did it take so long for the information technology revolution to get going?

Why isn't Silicon Valley getting really rich anymore?


The Future of the Social Insurance State

Does American social democracy have a future?

Total mid-century problems: current 3% of GDP plus 2% of GDP for Social Security plus 5% of GDP for health programs--a big shift is coming, either a big expansion in the size and government and the tax base, or a big rollback in the promises that we have collectively made to each other...

The big federal tax share is a legacy of the Cold War, after all. Tax collections jump a lot in wars, and then come back down only very slowly (if at all) after the wars are over.* No Cold War gives us a much smaller federal government...* Uneasiness about Bush administration fiscal policy: liking for tax cuts and spending increases

Posted by DeLong at 08:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


March 01, 2005

20050301 Econ 113 Lecture: Great Depression: Building Tools

20050301 Econ 113 Lecture: Great Depression: Building Tools 1929: The stock market crash 1929-1933: The slide into the Great Depression 1933-1940: The New Deal 1941-1945: Rearmament and World War II The Magnitude of the Great Depression Unemployment peaks at 25% One-third of all banks in the United States fail and close Unemployment exceeds 10% until the U.S. enters World War II In the U.S.: the political reaction to the Great Depression is called Roosevelt's "New Deal" In Germany: the political reaction to the Great Depression is called "Adolf Hitler" There are two Great Depressions: a European one and the American...

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20050224 Econ 113 Lecture: Gilded Age and Progressive Era

20050224 Econ 113 Lecture: Gilded Age and Progressive Era Two parts to this lecture: Progressivism American Industrial Dominion What was Populism? Three things: A belief that farmers were being cheated by railroads through monopolistic rates A belief that farmers were being cheated by banks through deflation William Jennings Bryan, the Boy Orator of the River Platte Was populism left or right? Neither. It was for the little guy, and against coastal elites. It could swing either left or right... Populism ran out of steam and was superseded by Progressivism, which sold itself as a pragmatic movement that tried to tackle...

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February 22, 2005

20050222: Econ 113: Lecture: Civil War and Gilded Age

20050222: Econ 113 Lecture: Civil War-Gilded Age Part I: Civil War Stephen Douglas Senator from Illinois Chair, Committee on Territories Believes in the West Wants settlement of the west, wants transcontinental railroad w/ terminus in Chicago Wants to open Kansas-Nebraska territory for settlement "Popular sovereignty"--slaveholders can move into any territory, and when the territory becomes a state it can vote to be a slave state or a free state Douglas thinks that he is: Not giving away anything substantive by endorsing "popular sovereignty" (after all, no water in Kansas--so no slave plantation agriculture) Pleasing the South with this purely rhetorical...

Posted by DeLong at 06:56 PM | Comments (24)


February 11, 2005

20050210: Economics 113 Lecture: Slavery: Cui Bono?

Charles of Windsor to marry Camilla Parker-Bowles The Persistence of Southern Slavery the Result of: Free land (which makes emancipatory bargains unworkable) (Marx: Swann River Colony) Cotton gin (which gives you another staple crop you can grow for which monitoring is easy) Geographical distribution of slavery: Plantation south--slavery Mountain south--not much slavery North--no slavery Border state antislavery--Cassius Clay--get rid of the "Peculiar Institution"--no desire to free African Americans The northern desire to see slavery set on the "course of ultimate extinction" Ulpian: Roman jurist: Cui Bono? Who Benefits? Who benefitted from the crime of American slavery? Do comparative statics...

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February 10, 2005

20050208: Econ 113 Lecture: Slavery 1

The Slave Trade: Guns Slaves Sugar/molasses/tobacco/cotton Very profitable Extraordinarily inhumane Adam Smith expected slavery to come to a rapid end after 1776; Adam Smith was wrong. Why slavery should come to an end: Inefficient--slave has no incentive An incentive-compatible system produces a larger economic pie And people can decide on a system better for everyone--a system that's still unequal, but not as brutal and vicious What maintains slavery? Extreme cheapness of slaves--makes vicious discipline credible Extreme control--slaves cannot run away Extreme monitoring--easy to see if slaves are working hard Caesar; classical Roman slavery; Arabic slavery; mamelukes The American South Quick...

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20050203 Econ 113 Lecture: Industrializing America Before the Civil War

Megasthenes: the coming of cotton to the Mediterranean... Format of the first midterm exam... David Ricardo: Why didn't the U.S. become one big unindustralized Canada? Answer: the tariff Could the tariff have been good for the country? Answer--yes, if the infant industry argument holds. What is the infant industry argument? There has to be some benefit--external to the firm and to the worker--from production. Future productivity has to be positively influenced by past production in order to make it beneficial in the long run to upset the Ricardian pattern of comparative advantage. The infant industry argument is plausible, but not...

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February 03, 2005

20050201 Econ 113 Lecture: The Pre Civil War United States--Growth of an Agrarian Civilization

1790: 3.9M people, $1100 1840 17.1M people, $1800 1860 50.2M people, $2000 % urban: 5% 1790, 11% 1840, 20% 1860. "Urban" means "2500 or more" City sizes: 1790: NY 33, PH 29, BO 18; 1840: NY 313, Balt 102, NO 102, PH 93; 1860 NY+Brooklyn 1081, PH 565, Balt 212.... Transport: Erie Canal, C&O Canal, Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river system.... SF in 1860: 15th among American cities with 57K people... Conquest: Northwest territories, inland southeast and War of 1812, Louisiana Purchase, Florida, Texas, Mexican Cession, Oregon Territory, Alaska "Seward's Folly", Hawaii Relatively fast increase in output per capita in the U.S. before 1860.... U.S. Revolutionary War hyperinflation: $241 million continental dollars worth $1 million gold dollars by the end of the war. Value of Revolutionary War debt tripled as assumption was discussed and debated.

Posted by DeLong at 03:50 PM | Comments (14)


A Key Invention

The Cotton Gin - Eli Whitney: Eli Whitney's machine was the first to clean short-staple cotton. His cotton engine consisted of spiked teeth mounted on a boxed revolving cylinder which, when turned by a crank, pulled the cotton fiber through small slotted openings so as to separate the seeds from the lint -- a rotating brush, operated via a belt and pulleys, removed the fibrous lint from the projecting spikes. The gins later became horse-drawn and water-powered gins and cotton production increased, along with lowered costs. Cotton soon became the number one selling textile. After the invention of the cotton gin, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800. Demand was fueled by other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, such as the machines to spin and weave it and the steamboat to transport it. By mid-century America was growing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton, most of it shipped to England or New England where it was manufactured into cloth.

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February 01, 2005

20050201 Econ 113 Class Opening Question

Alexander Hamilton believed that an America which owed lots of rich merchants lots of money--an America that "assumed" the debts the states had run up during the Revolutionary War and were not likely to pay--would be a stronger and better America. Why did he believe this?

Posted by DeLong at 06:11 AM | Comments (19)


Office Hours This Week

Will be 1-3 on Wednesdays. (I may not be able to make the Friday time.)

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January 27, 2005

20050127: Economics 113: Lecture Notes--Colonial Economy

Small farm settlement The sixth was, to contemporaries, the least attractive--it was what you did when you couldn't do anything else. The sixth was also, in the long run, the most productive as far as economic growth is concerned. Free land (means high wages) Constrast with Engerman and Sokoloff's picture of Latin America: populations to exploit and ways to exploit them create extreme inequality... which has poisonous consequences.... And the economy prospers...

Posted by DeLong at 11:27 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


20050127: Economics 113: Lecture Notes--Colonial Economy

Small farm settlement The sixth was, to contemporaries, the least attractive--it was what you did when you couldn't do anything else. The sixth was also, in the long run, the most productive as far as economic growth is concerned. Free land (means high wages) Constrast with Engerman and Sokoloff's picture of Latin America: populations to exploit and ways to exploit them create extreme inequality... which has poisonous consequences.... And the economy prospers...

Posted by DeLong at 11:27 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


20050127: Econ 113: Class Opening Question

Class Opening Question: Consider Engerman and Sokoloff’s political-economy explanation of the large current gap in prosperity between North America and South America. Assume that their explanation is correct. Write two sentences on what you think the implications are for how one should act to accelerate development in Latin America today.

Posted by DeLong at 10:27 AM | Comments (11)


20050127: Econ 113: Class Opening Question

Class Opening Question: Consider Engerman and Sokoloff’s political-economy explanation of the large current gap in prosperity between North America and South America. Assume that their explanation is correct. Write two sentences on what you think the implications are for how one should act to accelerate development in Latin America today.

Posted by DeLong at 10:27 AM | Comments (11)


January 26, 2005

20050125: Econ 113 Lecture Notes--Colonization

Then in the late 1800s the British East India Company makes its bid for power... Terrible consequences for African civilizations... Coffee, sugar, tobacco [chocolate, cocaine?] Extremely profitable.

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20050125: Econ 113: Class Opening Question

Class Opening Question: What goods were worth transporting across oceans before, say 1830?

Posted by DeLong at 11:56 AM | Comments (12)


January 25, 2005

20050125 Econ 113--Notes from Richard Halkett Section

What accounts for differential human development? Why Europe? Why England? How should we best measure differential human development? Is going for agriculture a good decision?

Posted by DeLong at 12:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


January 20, 2005

20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians

Thursday 20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians Index card: Malthusian pressure Amerindian settlement New World agriculture New World civilizations The Conquest Disease Technological gap Organizational gap Jared Diamond's theories of why Lack of domesticable fauna--hence disease Plant endowment Animal endowment North-South axis Two heads are better than one All of these add up to an enormous gradient by 1492 We thus understand why Europe discovered America--and why discovery was such a demographic and then a political and civilizational disaster for the Amerindians But why was it Europe, and not China or India or the Middle East or Africa, that discovered...

Posted by DeLong at 05:38 PM | Comments (30)


20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians

Thursday 20050120: Econ 113 Lecture Notes: Amerindians Index card: Malthusian pressure Amerindian settlement New World agriculture New World civilizations The Conquest Disease Technological gap Organizational gap Jared Diamond's theories of why Lack of domesticable fauna--hence disease Plant endowment Animal endowment North-South axis Two heads are better than one All of these add up to an enormous gradient by 1492 We thus understand why Europe discovered America--and why discovery was such a demographic and then a political and civilizational disaster for the Amerindians But why was it Europe, and not China or India or the Middle East or Africa, that discovered...

Posted by DeLong at 05:38 PM | Comments (30)


January 18, 2005

20050118: Econ 113 Opening Lecture Notes

The opening lecture of every course always completely exhausts me. And today was no exception... Lecture Outline [Housekeeping, administrative, and logistic] Why care about American economic history? Because we are here; it is important and interesting to know how and why "here" came to be. Because America is special: Special relative to other countries At current exchange rates, six times as well-off as the world average, and thirty-six times as well-off as the bottom quarter. At purchasing power parities, three times as well-off as the world average, and roughly seven times as well off as the bottom quarter. Digression on...

Posted by DeLong at 06:48 PM | Comments (1)


20050118: Econ 113 Opening Lecture Notes

The opening lecture of every course always completely exhausts me. And today was no exception... Lecture Outline [Housekeeping, administrative, and logistic] Why care about American economic history? Because we are here; it is important and interesting to know how and why "here" came to be. Because America is special: Special relative to other countries At current exchange rates, six times as well-off as the world average, and thirty-six times as well-off as the bottom quarter. At purchasing power parities, three times as well-off as the world average, and roughly seven times as well off as the bottom quarter. Digression on...

Posted by DeLong at 06:48 PM | Comments (1)