Created 1999-05-30
Modified 1999-11-22
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Econ 210a: Fall 1999

Introduction to Economic History

About this course (including assignments)

W 10-12 608-7 Evans


J. Bradford DeLong
(510) 643-4027

Office Hours:
Tuesday 12-2, or at other times by appointment...

Barry J. Eichengreen
(510) 642-2772

Office Hours:
Wednesday 1-3 or by appointment (call 643-9044 in advance)

Aug 25: Introduction (Eichengreen, DeLong)

Paul David (1985), "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review 75:2 (May), pp. 332-337.

Paul David (1993), "Historical Economics in the Long Run: Some Implications of Path- Dependence," in G. D. Snooks, ed., Historical Analysis in Economics, London: Routledge, pp. 29-40.

S.J. Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis (1994), "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives 8:2 (Spring), pp. 133-50.

J.M. Keynes (1933), "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren," Essays in Persuasion (New York: Norton,1963), pp. 358-373.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Sep 1: Modern Economic Growth (DeLong)

Aristotle (330 B.C.E.), Politics, brief selections.

Simon Kuznets (1963), "The Meaning and Measurement of Economic Growth," in Barry Supple, ed., The Experience of Economic Growth (New York: Random House), pp. 52-67.

Paul David (1967), "New Light on a Statistical Dark Age: U.S. Real Product Growth Before 1840," American Economic Review 57 (May), pp. 294-306.

William Nordhaus (1997), "Do Real Output and Real Wage Measures Capture Reality? The History of Lighting Suggests Not, " in Timothy Bresnahan and Robert Gordon, eds., The Economics of New Goods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 29-70.

Stephen Nicholas and Richard Steckel (1991), "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrialization, 1770-1815," Journal of Economic History 51:4 (December), pp. 937-57.

Richard Easterlin (1995), "Will Raising the Incomes of All Increase the Happiness of All?" Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 27:1 (June), pp. 35-47.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Sep 8: Malthus Unbound: Preindustrial Population and Agriculture (DeLong)

Massimo Livi-Bacci (1992), A Concise History of World Population (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 30-136.

Richard Easterlin (1995), "Industrial Revolution and Mortality Revolution: Two of a Kind?" Journal of Evolutionary Economics 5:4 (December), pp. 393-408.

Eric Jones (1981), The European Miracle (New York: Cambridge University Press), pp. 45-70, 85-126, 202-22.

Michael Kremer (1993), "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 (August 1993), pp. 681-716.

J. Bradford DeLong and Andrei Shleifer (1993), "Princes and Merchants: City Growth Before the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics 36:5 (October), pp. 671-702.

Jan de Vries (1994), "The Industrious Revolution and the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic History 54:2 (June), pp. 249-70.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Sep 15: British Industrialization (DeLong)

N.F.R. Crafts (1985), British Economic Growth during the Industrial Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 1-114. Buy it from Amazon.

David Landes (1993), "The Fable of the Dead Horse; or, The Industrial Revolution Revisited," in Joel Mokyr, ed., The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective (Boulder: Westview Press), pp. 132-170.

Peter Temin (1997), "Two Views of the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic History 57:1 (March), pp. 63-82.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848), "The Communist Manifesto", pp. 469-500 of Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978), pp. 469-500.

Karl Marx (1849, "Wage Labor and Capital," pp. 203-217 of Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978), pp. 469-500.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Sep 22: The Spread of 19th Century Industrialization: Europe, Asia, Africa (DeLong)

Richard Easterlin (1981), "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?" Journal of Economic History 41:1 (March), pp. 1-19.

Gregory Clark (1987), "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?: Lessons from the Cotton Mills," Journal of Economic History 47:1 (March), pp. 141-74).

Sidney Pollard (1981), Peaceful Conquest (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 142-277.

D. McCloskey (1970), "Did Victorian Britain Fail?" Economic History Review (2nd series), 23:3 (December), pp. 446-59.

David Landes (1958), Bankers and Pashas: International Finance and Economic Imperialism in Egypt (New York: Harper), pp. 69-146, 302-27.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Sep 29 American Exceptionalism I (DeLong)

Alfred Conrad and John Meyer (1958), "The Economics of Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South," Journal of Political Economy 66:1 (1958), pp. 95-130.

Robert Fogel (1979), "Notes on the Social Saving Controversy," Journal of Economic History 42:1 (March), pp. 1-54.

John Coatsworth (1979), "Indispensable Railroads in a Backward Economy: The Case of Mexico," Journal of Economic History 39:4 (December), pp. 939-60.

Moses Abramovitz and Paul David (1973), "Reinterpreting American Economic Growth: Parables and Realities," American Economic Review 63:2 (May), pp. 428-39.

Alfred Chandler (1977), The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge: Harvard University Press), pp. 1-12, 285-314.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Oct 6: American Exceptionalism II (Eichengreen)

Paul David (1968), "The Mechanization of Reaping in the Ante-Bellum Midwest," in Henry Rosovsky (ed.), Industrialization in Two Systems, New York: Wiley, pp.3-28.

Peter Temin (1966), "Labor Scarcity and the Problem of American Industrial Efficiency in the 1950s," Journal of Economic History 26:3 (September), pp. 277-298.

Edward Ames and Nathan Rosenberg (1968), "The Enfield Arsenal in Theory and History," Economic Journal 78 (December), pp.**-**

Gavin Wright (1990), "The Origins of American Industrial Success," American Economic Review 80, pp. 651-68.

Barry Eichengreen's Supplementary Readings

Oct 13: 19th Century Capital Markets (Eichengreen)

Lance Davis (1965), "The Investment Market, 1870-1914: The Evolution of a National Market," Journal of Economic History 25, pp.355-393.

Howard Bodenhorn (1995), "The More Perfect Union: Regional Interest Rates in the United States, 1880-1960," in Michael D. Bordo and Richard Sylla (eds), Anglo-American Financial Systems: Institutions and Markets in the 20th Century, New York: Irwin Professional Publishing, pp.415-454.

Kenneth A. Snowden (1995), "The Evolution of Interregional Mortgage Lending Channels, 1870-1914: The Life Insurance-Mortgage Company Connection," in Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Daniel M.G. Raff (eds), Coordination and Information: Historical Perspectives on the Organization of Enterprise, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp.209-256.

Marco da Rin (1996), "Understanding the Development of the German Kreditbanken, 1850-1914," Financial History Review, pp.29-47.

Charles Calomiris (1995), "The Costs of Rejecting Universal Banking: American Finance in the German Mirror, 1870-1914," in Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Daniel M.G. Raff (eds), Coordination and Information: Historical Perspectives on the Organization of Enterprise, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp.257-322.

J. Bradford DeLong (1991), "Did J. P. Morgan's Men Add Value? An Economist's Perspective on Financial Capitalism," in Peter Temin, ed., Inside the Business Enterprise: Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press for NBER), pp. 205-36.

Barry Eichengreen's Supplementary Readings

Oct 20: 19th Century Labor Markets (Eichengreen)

Sanford Jacoby (1984), "The Development of Internal Labor Markets in American Manufacturing Firms," in Paul Osterman (ed.), Internal Labor Markets, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (1984), pp.23-69.

Joshua Rosenbloom (1990), "One Market or Many? Labor Market Integration in the Late-19th Century United States," Journal of Economic History 50 (1990), pp.85-107.

Joshua Rosenbloom (1999), "Padrones, Employment Agencies, and Labor Exchanges: Institutional Innovation in Late Nineteenth Century Labor Markets," unpublished manuscript, University of Kansas.

William Sundstrom (1990), "Was There a Golden Age of Flexible Wages? Evidence from Ohio Manufacturing, 1892-1910," Journal of Economic History 50, pp.309-320.

Barry Eichengreen's Supplementary Readings

Oct 27: 19th Century Globalization (Eichengreen)

Albert Fishlow (1985), "Lessons from the Past: Capital Markets During the 19th Century and the Interwar Period," International Organization 39, pp.383-439.

Stefano Fenoaltea (1988), "International Resource Flows and Construction Movements in the Atlantic Economy: The Kuznets Cycle in Italy, 1861-1913," Journal of Economic History 48, pp.605-637.

Jeffrey Williamson (1996), "Globalization, Convergence, and History," Journal of Economic History 56, pp.277-306.

Michael Bordo, Barry Eichengreen and Douglas Irwin (1999), "Is Globalization Today Really Different from Globalization a Hundred Years Ago?"

Barry Eichengreen's Supplementary Readings

Nov 3: The Classical Gold Standard (Eichengreen)

Arthur Bloomfield (1959), Monetary Policy Under the International Gold Standard, New York: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, pp.9-51.

Barry Eichengreen (1996), Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System, Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 2, pp.7-44.

Michael Bordo and Hugh Rockoff (1996), "The Gold Standard as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval," Journal of Economic History 56, pp.389-428.

Barry Eichengreen's Supplementary Readings

Nov 10: An Overview of 20th Century Economic Growth (DeLong)

J. Bradford DeLong (1988), "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review 78: 5 (December), pp. 1138-1154.

Lant Pritchett (1997), "Divergence, Bigtime," Journal of Economic Perspectives 11:3 (Summer), pp. 3-17.

Moses Abramovitz (1986), "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," Journal of Economic History 46, pp. 385-406.

N. Gregory Mankiw (1995), "The Growth of Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1995:1 (Spring), pp. 275-310.

Paul Romer (1994), "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives 8:1 (Winter), pp. 3-22.

J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1991), "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," Quarterly Journal of Economics 106:2 (May), pp. 445-502.

Brad DeLong's Reading Notes

Nov 17: The Great Depression: The American Perspective (DeLong)

Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz (1963), "The Great Contraction," in A Monetary History of the United States (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

Christina Romer (1993), "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives 25:1 (Winter), pp. 49-66.

Christina D. Romer (1990), "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," Quarterly Journal of Economics 105:3 (August), pp. 597-624.

Robert Margo (1988), "Interwar Unemployment in the United States," in Barry Eichengreen and T.J. Hatton,eds., Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective (Boston: Kluwer), pp. 325-52.

J. Bradford DeLong (1997), "American Fiscal Policy in the Shadow of the Great Depression", in Michael Bordo, Claudia Goldin, and Eugene White, eds., The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

Brad DeLong's reading notes

Mock Final Exam Distributed

Nov 24: The Great Depression: The International Perspective (Eichengreen)

Barry Eichengreen (1992), Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919- 1939, New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 1, pp.3-28.

Ben Bernanke (1995), "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 27:1 (February), pp. 1-28.

Ben Bernanke and Harold James (1991), "The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison,' in R. Glenn Hubbard (ed.), Financial Markets and Financial Crises, Chicago: University of Chicago Press for the NBER, pp.33-68.

Dieter Rothermund (1996), The Global Impact of the Great Depression (London: Routledge), pp.74-135.

Barry Eichengreen's Supplemental Reading List

Dec 1: The Marshall Plan and Corporatism (Eichengreen )

J. Bradford DeLong and Barry Eichengreen, "The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program," in Rudiger Dornbusch, Richard Layard and Willem Nolling (eds.), Postwar Economic Reconstruction and Lessons for the East Today, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (1993), pp.189-230.

Barry Eichengreen, "Institutions and Economic Growth: Europe After World War II," in Nicholas Crafts and Gianni Toniolo (eds), Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1996) pp.38-72.

Steven Broadberry (1997), The Productivity Race: British Manufacturing in International Perspective, 1850-1990, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.77-154.

(Barry Eichengreen's Extra Readings)

Dec. 13: Final Exam 5-8, 101 Life Sciences Building Addition

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Comment on This Website

In class we talked about why we should do economic history, But will we in time learn how economic historians do it? And how to appraise their work? (this matters now, and will probably matter even more when we start writing the research paper :P ).

For instance, in the QWERTY-Dvorak comparison, we didn't eventually find out who was more accurate about the history of the QWERTY and Dvorak layouts. Thats really troubling, cos we can't really be confident in conclusions formed from flawed data, right? Or are we supposed to forget the facts and concentrate on the lessons of the story, that path dependence matters? (gee, that sounds alot like how neoclassical economics handled lighthouses and bees)

Well, anyone who's interested can find lots of supporters of both QWERTY and Dvorak on the Internet (just type QWERTY or Dvorak on your search engine).

Ok I gotta go back to 201A problem set 1.....

Contributed by Kok-Hoe Chan (bnwhuxley@yahoo.com) on August 29, 1999.

Thoughts regarding QWERTY and Dvorak, based on my experience doing clerical work in 1993-96...

(1) Temp agencies and potential employers would always give me a typing test. This was done on a DOS-based machine with a QWERTY keyboard. Even if I could have typed faster on a Dvorak keyboard, I don't think I could have done much to demonstrate that skill to the tester; the staff administering the test would probably not respond well to "here, before you run that testing program on me, let me reconfigure your computer". Also, I suspect that very few people at any company would know whether the desktop machines in use could be easily reconfigured to use Dvorak keyboards; if their decision about whether to hire or not hire me depended on that one piece of information, how much effort would they be willing to spend to obtain it?

(2) Secretaries and other office workers have to do more than just type. For every job, employers will usually post some threshold of typing speed required (e.g., 40 words per minute), but once I'm above that threshold, how much more employable does an extra 10 wpm make me? And therefore, if I'm trying to learn something to improve my employability, is learning the Dvorak layout really the best use of my time?

(3) So, although I've known about the Dvorak keyboard since middle school, I've never bothered learning it. (When I was in high school, we had an Apple //c computer, which had a "keyboard" button that switched to Dvorak. So back then, I even had the opportunity to learn it.)

Contributed by Seth Gordon (sethg@ropine.com) on August 31, 1999.

Some thoughts on week 1 readings:

What disturbs me about this "network externality" and "path dependence" debate is that it does not sufficiently seem to take into account the demand side of the problem. For how do we really know what the "better product" actually is, and how would we obtain the appropriate criterion as to whether market mechanisms have yielded the most efficient result? Maybe the "QWERTY"-story is a kind of special case in this context because there should be quite clear-cut criteria as to the technical superiority of a keyboard setup (though even that appearently is not as obvious as it might be at first glance). However, just look at the other example brought up by Liebovitz & Margolis, VHS vs. Beta; this battle basically seems to have been decided by consumers' preferences and demand resulting from these, as it should be according to standard economic theory as we know it since Menger's, Jevons', ... "marginalist revolution". Thus, the real problem turns out to lie in the emergence and evolvement of consumer preferences, which standard theory traditionally has very little to tell about. So, from my point of view, no objections at all against the notion of path dependence and its importance for explaining economic phenomena of all kinds; however my emphasis would be slightly different one. This stress on the demand side with all its psychological, sociological, anthropological etc. intractabilities seems to me one more proof that modern economics would greatly benefit from a heavy dose of interdisciplinary research ...

As concerns Keynes, I agree with the reading notes that his argument is wrong, even quite plainly so. Keynes actually recognizes the crucial point when he draws the distinction between absolute and relative needs (p. 365), but by almost completely neglecting the latter in carrying on, he gets to miss the point. The key to the "economic problem" to persist despite all spectacular growth in material wealth is the principal insatiabiliy of relative needs, and that's about it. As a refinement of this, I found Easterlin's article (week 2) highly interesting ...

Contributed by Christian Hederer (chhederer@hotmail.com) on August 31, 1999.

Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans
University of California at Berkeley; Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone (510) 642-6615 fax

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