Journal of European Economic History - 2020 issue 3


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Access to Land, the Agriculture Trap, and Literacy: Evidence from Late Nineteenth-Century Greece
Many growth analysts have argued that more equal patterns of landownership and the supremacy of industry over agriculture were associated with the rise of mass public education systems during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The theoretical framework of this argument relies mainly on the so-called capitalskill complementarity hypothesis that agricultural land and industrial capital are characterized by different levels of complementarity with human skills. Thus, landowning elites were often reluctant to promote and support public education, while rising capitalists were much more in favour of a better-educated workforce and promoted major educational reforms. This paper seeks to provide some of the first empirical evidence of a significant positive relationship between more equitable distribution of landholdings and the development of literacy in late nineteenth-century Greece, using data from the Censuses of 1870 and 1879. Our estimates largely confirm previous findings of a positive and significant linkage between people’s access to land and literacy rates. On the contrary, labour concentration in the farm sector (the agriculture trap) has been found to be negatively and significantly related to literacy. These results remain robust after controlling for such other socioeconomic factors as marital status, family size, urbanization, ethnicity, religion, students’ attainment and teachers’ availability.
Expansion, Depression and Collusion: The Belgian Coal Industry, 1901-1945
In the first half of the twentieth century a variety of factors – stagnant extraction processes, fierce competition from abroad, less favourable geological endowment, unstable demand during the interwar years – led Belgian coal producers to unify in order to preserve their production capacities. This paper takes the presence of massive coal imports in the Belgian market into account by using a three-equation theoretical model derived from industrial economics to assess the impact of the economic cycle on Belgian coal producers’ market power within their domestic market. The results indicate that collusive strategies had a significant impact on the relationship between the economic cycle and the price-cost margin in the Belgian coal industry. In particular, the estimates do not contradict the findings of Haltiwanger and Harrington (1991).
The Impact of World War Two and Rationing on U.K. Expenditure in the Short and Long Run
World War Two, rationing, and shortages limited the amount of food and other goods available to households. The new welfare state of Clement Attlee’s Labour Party and derationing were supposed to provide food and other consumption goods to meet the needs of households, but voters were dissatisfied. Churchill’s Conservative Party, with a campaign promising to end rationing quickly, regained power. It is unclear how rationing affected households’ expenditure adjustments in the short and long run. Our results show that income and own-price elasticities varied considerably in both the short and long run before, during and after the war. Varying elasticities provide insight into how households adjusted their expenditures over time. Food is typically an essential consumption item, but estimates show it was almost a luxury good during the war and in the postwar period. There is evidence that households were unable to make typical long-run desired expenditure adjustments during the war and for some time after it. Binding food rationing significantly affected spending on other goods and services. Rationing had a severe impact on household expenditures. The campaign to end rationing was pivotal in the Conservatives Party’s landslide victory.
Growth without Development: The Post-WWI Period in the Lower Danube. Perspectives and Problems of Romania and Bulgaria
This article examines the reaction of the Romanian and Bulgarian ruling classes to the great transformations in South-East Europe in the aftermath of World War I. The conflict had revealed the intrinsic weakness of the economic and social structures of all the Balkan nation-states, victors and vanquished alike. This awareness prompted politicians in Romania and Bulgaria to seek massive industrialization accompanied by some social reforms (agrarian reform, education, etc.) with a view to decisive modernization. A strong industrial base supported by the state through protective policies and public orders seemed the fastest and safest way to transform the economic structure of the two countries, which until then had been predominantly agrarian. This economic action was accompanied by a lively scientific and cultural debate fueled by Bulgarian and Romanian economists convinced that industrialization was the only way to achieve emancipation from underdevelopment and subjection to the Western powers. On the whole, however, this policy approach, artificially supported by the state and inadequately powered by a modest internal market, did not prove capable of reversing the trend of Bulgarian and Romanian development. On the contrary, it had the effect of shifting precious resources away from the countryside, which remained mired in severe technical and human underdevelopment.
Policies to Combat Organized Crime in Europe: The Italian Experience
Combating the expansion of criminal organizations has long been on the agenda of the European Union, but to date the steps towards the adoption of a common strategy have been timid. And this despite the European Union’s request for alignment of the laws and regulations of the Member States. Intensive work commencing in 2012 eventually produced Directive 2014/42EU on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union, modelled on Law 109/1996 enacted by Italy. Another step in this direction was the approval in 2016 by the European Parliament of the report on the fight against corruption, which renews the Commission’s request for criminal association to be made punishable and for the adoption of specific legislation on “a particular type of criminal organization whose members take advantage of the power of intimidation of the associative bond and of the condition of subjection and silence” (Article 416-bis of the Italian penal code), allowing “confiscation in the absence of definitive conviction.” Harmonized legislation has yet to be adopted, however; in particular, there is no reference model for combating criminal organizations in economic terms or for the construction of barriers in civil society. The Italian experience in the fight against mafia-style criminal organizations, based on the social reutilization of confiscated assets and the construction of an economy alternative to organized crime, could be a useful reference model for EU member countries in constructing a homogeneous European system for combating criminal gangs.
Francesca Fauri, Anthony C. Masi, Catherine Withol de Wenden, Donatella Strangio, Salvatore Strozza
Migrations. Countries of immigrants, Countries of migrants.
Francesco Dandolo

Khalid Ikram
The Political Economy of Reforms in Egypt: Issues and Policymaking since 1952
Vittorio Caligiuri

Branko Milanovic
Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System that Rules the World
Valerio Torreggiani

Luciano Monzali
Guerra e diplomazia in Africa orientale. Francesco Crispi, l’Italia liberale e la questione etiopica
Matteo Nardozi

M’hamed Oualdi
A Slave Between Empires. A Transimperial History of North Africa
Giampaolo Conte

Thomas Philippon
The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets
Diego Pagliarulo

Priya Satia
Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution
Matteo Capasso

Paolo Soave
Una vittoria mutilata? L’Italia e la Conferenza di Pace di Parigi
Matteo Nardozi

Barbara Stallings
Dependency in the Twenty-First Century? The Political Economy of China-Latin American Relations
Carlo Catapano

Matthew Frank Stevens
The Economy of Medieval Wales (1067-1536)
Dario Internullo

Donatella Strangio
Italy-China Trade Relations. A Historical Perspective
Alessandro Albanese Ginammi

Annalisa Urbano, Antonio Varsori
Mogadiscio 1948. Un eccidio di italiani fra decolonizzazione e Guerra fredda
Matteo Nardozi

Alexander Zevin
Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist
Giampaolo Conte

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