Economic History 7401
purpose of this course is to introduce students to topics in international
economic history, and serve as a complement of ECON7400 that emphasizes topics
related to the
Evaluation consists of two in-class exams, and a term paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. The weights are: first in-class exam 30%, second in-class exam 30%, and term paper 40%. A study guide with possible exam questions will be distributed before each exam. Office hours will be announced in class, and I will be available in my office for informal discussions. If you need to schedule an appointment or discuss some special need e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book by Rondo Cameron and Larry Neal, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present will be used as a general reference, but we will rely mostly on original articles.
1. The Transition to Capitalism
The ‘transition debate’ between Marxist historians was
fundamentally about the nature of feudalism as a mode of production and the
causes of its collapse, with one group emphasizing the agrarian and the other
the mercantilist origins of capitalism.
The ‘Brenner debate’ is a spin-off of the former one that started with a
critique of the dominant demographic interpretation of pre-industrial
(1950), “A Critique,” in R. Hilton, ed., The
Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism,
(1950), “A Reply,” in R. Hilton, ed., The
Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism,
(1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial
Europe,” in T.H. Aston and C.H.E. Philpin, eds., The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development
in Pre-Industrial Europe,
Postan, M. M.
and J. Hatcher (1978), “Population and Class Relations in Feudal Society,” in
T.H. Aston and C.H.E. Philpin, eds., The
Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in
2. The Industrial Revolution
Conventional wisdom portrays the Industrial Revolution as a major break with the past, one in which income per capita growth and technological progress increased markedly. The so-called Crafts-Harley view challenges conventional wisdom and suggests that growth has been overestimated, and the Industrial Revolution was a relatively smooth transition.
(1969), Unbound Prometheus: Technological
Change and Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present,
Crafts, N. and C. Harley (1992), “Output Growth and the British Industrial Revolution: A Restatement of the Crafts-Harley View,” Economic History Review, 45(4), pp. 703-30.
Cameron, R. (1994), “The Industrial Revolution: Fact or Fiction?” Contention, Fall, pp. 163-88.
Mokyr, J. (1994), “That which we call an Industrial Revolution: reply to Cameron,” Contention, Fall, pp. 188-205.
Temin, P. (1997), “Two Views of the Industrial Revolution,” Journal of Economic History, March, pp. 63-82.
3. The Factory System and Hierarchic Relations
Conventional wisdom suggests that the factory emerged because of new kinds of technology. With the invention of large industrial machines, the argument goes, it became necessary to move out of the small cottages and workshops and into large warehouses. Marglin argued that the real reason why the factory system emerged was because it gave bosses more control.
Marglin, S. (1974), “What Do Bosses Do?” Review of Radical Political Economics, 6, pp. 60-112.
Landes, D. (1986), “What Do Bosses Really Do?” Journal of Economic History, 46(3), pp. 585-623.
Brown, M. and P. Philips (1986), “Craft Labor and Mechanization in Nineteenth-Century American Canning,” Journal of Economic History, 46(3), pp. 743-56.
4. The West and the Rest
There has been a heated controversy on the timing of the
so-called ‘Great Divergence.’ Some
authors claim that, against conventional wisdom, living standards in Western
Frank, A. G.
(1998), Re-Orient: Global Economy in the
(2000), The Great Divergence:
Goldstone, J. (2002), “The rise of the West—or not? A revision to socio-economic history,” Sociological Theory, 18, pp. 175-92.
and G. Bishnupriya (2006), “The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices
and Economic Development in Europe and
5. The Origins of Relative Backwarderness
There has been a revival of cultural and geographical explanations for relative backwarderness. In contradistinction, some authors emphasize the role of institutions in explaining diverging growth performance.
(1997), Guns, Germs and Steel,
(1998), The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,
and S. Engerman (2000), “Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of
Development in the
Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. Robinson (2001), “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,” American Economic Review, 91(5), pp. 1369–96.
Acemoglu, D., J. Robinson and S. Johnson (2002), “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117: 1231-94.
6. Finance and Hegemonic Power
Gerschenkron famously pointed out the importance of the banking sector (and the State) for late comers. New research emphasizes the importance of public debt in the development of sophisticated financial markets.
A. (1952), “Economic Backwarderness in Historical Perspective,” in Economic Backwarderness in Historical
C. (1993), A Financial History of
(2000), “How It All Began: The Monetary and Financial Architecture of
6. The Gold Standard and Globalization
How did the classical Gold Standard worked? Did it promote a symmetric and smooth adjustment of the balance of payments in the center and periphery? Did the gold standard facilitate access by peripheral countries to foreign capital from the core countries? These are some of the questions that are studied in this section.
Ford, A. G. (1962),
The Gold Standard, 1880-1914:
(1996), Globalizing Capital: A History of
the International Monetary System, Princeton:
Bordo, M., and H. Rockoff (1996), “The Gold Standard as a ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’,” Journal of Economic History, 56(2), pp. 389–428.
(2003), “The Gold Standard and Center Periphery Interactions,” in L-P. Rochon
and S. Rossi, eds., Modern Theories of
7. The German Hyperinflation
There are two interpretations of the German hyperinflation. Some authors emphasize the role of reparations, foreign exchange devaluations and distributive conflict, while others emphasize fiscal imbalances and monetization of public debt.
C-L. (1986), The German Hyperinflation,
Burkett, P. and R. Burdekin (1993), “Real Wages and Distributional Conflict in the German Hyperinflation,” Australian Economic Papers, 32(60), pp. 73-92.
(1996), The Great Disorder: Politics,
Economics, and Society in the German Inflation, 1914-1924,
8. The Gold Standard and the Depression
Conventional explanations of the Depression emphasized domestic causes – Friedman’s great contraction versus Temin’s consumption decline. More recently the international causes of the depression, associated with the functioning of the Gold Standard, have received more attention.
Eichengreen, B. and J. Sachs (1985), “Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s,” Journal of Economic History, 45(4), pp. 925-46.
(1989), Lessons from the Depression,
Eichengreen, B. (1992), “The Origins and Nature of the Great Slump Revisited,” Economic History Review, 45(2), pp. 213-39.
9. The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age
The quarter century following post-World War II reconstruction was a period of unprecedented prosperity and expansion for the world economy. The particular conditions for the Golden Age and its collapse are analyzed.
DeLong, B. and
B. Eichengreen (1993), “The Marshall Plan: History’s Most Successful Structural
Adjustment Program,” in R. Dornbusch, W. Nolling and R. Layard, eds., Post-War Reconstruction and Lessons for the
(1994), States and the Reemergence of
10. Is Globalization Today Different?
Some authors suggest that there is a parallel between current globalization trends and the half century of international economic integration before the First World War. Others remain skeptical emphasizing that the first period was not one of trade liberalization, nor one of reduced expectations about the role of the State.
Bairoch, P. and R. Kozul-Wright (1996), “Globalization Myths: Some Historical Reflections of Integration, Industrialization and Growth, in the World Economy,” UNCTAD Working Paper No 113.
Glyn, A. and R. Sutcliffe (1999), “Still Underwhelmed: Indicators of Globalization and their Misinterpretation,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 31(1), pp. 111-32.
Bordo, M., B. Eichengreen and D. Irwin (1999), “Is Globalization Today Really Different from Globalization a Hundred Years Ago?” NBER Working Paper No 7195.