Niew Issue- European Review of Economic History- May 2012

The Current Issue

A new issue of European Review of Economic History has been published.





Editor’s choice: Commodity market disintegration in the interwar period. William Hynes, David S. Jacks and Kevin H. O’rourke.

 In this paper, we document the disintegration of international commodity markets between 1913 and 1938. There was dramatic disintegration during World War I, gradual reintegration during the 1920s, and then a substantial disintegration after 1929. The period saw the unravelling of many of the integration gains of 1870–1913. While increased transport costs help explain the wartime disintegration, they cannot explain the post-1929 increase in trade costs. The proliferation of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, the collapse of the interwar gold standard, and the evaporation of commercial credit loom large as suspects.

War and economics: Spanish civil war finances revisited. Paulo Martin-Acena, Elena Martinez Ruiz and Maria A. Pons.

This paper reviews the financing of the Spanish civil war. We present new evidence showing that the combatants, the Republican government, and the Franco administration followed similar financial strategies. We argue, contrary to established wisdom, that both sides consumed similar shares of domestic and foreign resources. Using new price indexes, we offer budgetary figures in nominal and real terms for both sides. The Spanish civil war suggests that the outcome of wars, civil or otherwise, is independent of the point of departure. The economic and financial position of the combatants influences the development of wars. But the evolution of the economy is affected by the changing military fortunes of each of the sides.

The Corn Laws in continental perspective. Giovanni Federico.

Duties on wheat were the mainstay of trade policy in Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century. This paper documents the changes in policy of seven wheat-importing countries of Western Europe and interprets them with a political support model. All these countries raised duties after the end of French wars to protect the dominating landed interests against falling world prices. Prices started to rise in the late 1820s and this rise accounted for long-run liberalization. Price movements may also explain the timing of some decisions, but many others depended on circumstances and on the wider political machinations.

The role of Rentiers in the stabilization processes of the 1920s. Giovanni B. Pittaluga and Elena Seghezza.

The literature has underlined the existence of widespread economic regularities in the stabilization processes of the 1920s. This paper shows that political regularities also existed. The main reasons for these regularities are explained in terms of a political exchange hypothesis according to which interest groups express a demand for inflation (or deflation) and political parties seek to gain power by representing the interests of certain groups. A political equilibrium that leads to stabilization is a situation where a coalition of parties supported by social groups interested in disinflation obtains the majority. In the stabilizations that took place in European countries during the 1920s, marked political regularities can be seen and are econometrically tested. The differences in the way this equilibrium was achieved can explain the different paths to stabilization and its forms. Three stylized types of stabilizations can be identified, each of which is closely related to the historical experience of France, Germany, and Great Britain.

Are dictatorships less redistributive? A comparative analysis of social spending in Europe, 1950–1980. Sergio Espuelas.

Using new data on Spain and Portugal 1950–1980, this paper shows that non-democratic governments were less generous in providing social protection and also financed their meager social policy in a less redistributive way. This contradicts recent studies that hold that dictatorships have no significant effect on social policy. The analysis also reveals that, rather than provoking a “race to the bottom” or an increase in social spending, globalization favored the adoption of tax-funded systems instead of systems based on compulsory social security contributions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.