RHE 2010 n. 01 primavera

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Archivo Abierto Institucional de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: RHE V.28 Nº1 primavera 2010


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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Spain's International Position, 1850-1913
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
    Spain's financial position during the late 19th and early 20th centuries has usually been presented as one of persistent deficit on current account, which resulted from her integration into international commodity and factor markets and this, in turn, slowed down the growth of the economy. In this essay a preliminary reconstruction of the balance of payments on current account allows us to reject this view. In fact, a net capital inflow made possible to meet the demand for investment-boosting economic performance. Current account reversals in a context of macroeconomic domestic imperfections help to explain the economic slowdown at the turn of the century.
  • Publication
    The evolution of top income and wealth shares in Portugal since 1936
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Guilera, Jordi
    This paper presents new statistical evidence on the long-term evolution of economic inequality in Portugal. Portuguese tax sources have been employed to estimate top income and wealth shares (TIS and TWS) from 1936 onwards. The new series shows that the Second World War had a negative and non-permanent effect on the evolution of TIS, but not on TWS, which increased until the mid 1950s. From the mid 1950s to the early 1980s, there was a sharp decline in TIS and TWS. Finally, during the 1990s, TIS increased again. The reasons behind the Portuguese distributive pattern seem to be more economic than political.
  • Publication
    Cana, café, cacau: agrarian structure and educational inequalities in Brazil
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Wegenast, Tim
    The present paper explores the relationship between agrarian structure and human capital formation between and within Brazil’s federal units. It is argued that whether states’ agriculture is in plantation style, based on cheap coerced labor, or organized around family farming matters for the formulation of educational policies. According to the main claim, landlords were not interested in paying higher taxes to educate the masses and curtailed the expansion of schooling in order to keep a cheap workforce and maintain their monopoly over the decision-making process. Describing several episodes in Brazil’s history of public instruction, the paper stresses the distributional conflicts over education as well as the rural aristocracy’s resistance towards broadly-targeted, citizenship-enhancing educational policies. The descriptive evidence is complemented by statistical analyses employing historical as well as more recent data. It is shown that states characterized by a more egalitarian land distribution, which are not under the dominance of powerful landlords, exhibit better educational coverage and enhanced instruction quality. They also spend more on schooling.
  • Publication
    A historical analysis of central bank independence in Latin America: the Colombian experience, 1923-2008
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Meisel, Adolfo; Barón, Juan D.
    This paper explores the relationship between central bank independence and inflation in Latin America, using the experience of Colombia (1923-2008) as a case study. Since its creation, in 1923, Colombia’s central bank has undergone several reforms that have changed its objectives and degree of independence. Between 1923 and 1951, it was private and independent, with a legal commitment to price stability. In 1962, monetary responsibilities were divided between a government-dominated monetary board, in charge of monetary policies, and the central bank, which carried them out. In the early 1990s, the bank recovered its independence and its focus on price stability. Inflation varied substantially during these subperiods. Our analysis suggests that the central bank independence, combined with a commitment to price stability, renders the best results in terms of price stability.
  • Publication
    Are factor endowments fate?
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Nugent, Jeffrey B.; Robinson, James A.
    In recent theories of comparative development, the role of institutional differences has been crucial. Yet, what explains comparative institutional evolution? We investigate this issue by studying the coffee exporting economies of Latin America. Although homogeneous in many ways, they experienced radically different paths of economic (and political) development, which is conventionally traced to the differential organization of the coffee industry. We show that the different forms that the coffee economy took in the 19th century was critically determined by the legal environment determining access to land, and that different laws resulted from differences in the nature of political competition and the backgrounds of political elites. Our analysis suggests that explanations of institutional differences that stress economic fundamentals can only be part of the story. At least in the economies that we study, while geography, factor endowments and technology are clearly important, their implications for the institutional structure and thus development are conditional on the form that political competition takes in society. For interesting variations in economic outcomes, endowments are not fate.
  • Publication
    The terms of trade for commodities since the mid-19th century
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-03) Ocampo, José Antonio; Parra-Lancourt, Mariángela
    This paper shows that there was an improvement in the barter terms of trade for non-fuel commodities vs. manufactures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, followed by significant deterioration over the rest of the 20th century. However, the decline over most of the 20th century was neither continuous nor was it distributed evenly among different commodity groups. The far-reaching changes that the world economy underwent around 1920 and again around 1979 led to a stepwise deterioration which, over the long term, was reflected in roughly a halving of real commodity prices. Tropical agriculture fared the worst, whereas minerals had the best performance, with non-tropical agriculture in an intermediate situation. The increase experienced in the first decade of the 21st century may be the beginning of a long-term upward trend, but it is too soon to tell.