Six academics and research students from LSE's Department of Economic History will present papers at this year's Economic History Society annual conference which is held Friday 30 March to Sunday 1 April at the University of Exeter. They are:
Dr Gareth Austin, senior lecturer
Dr Gerben Bakker, lecture in economic history
Hiroshi Shimizu, research student
Aashish Velkar, research student
Martina Viarengo, research student
Helen Yaffe research student.
Friday 30 March
An historical analysis of the expansion of compulsory schooling in Europe after the Second World War
Martina G Viarengo
The expansion of compulsory schooling after the Second World War is one of the first policy changes that became common to the majority of European countries. Specifically, over the period 1950-2000, 15 western European countries extended the school-leaving age by one year or longer; mainly during the twenty-five years after the war. What were the driving forces behind the increase in compulsory schooling that took place in Europe after the Second World War?
Competition Knowledge Spillover, and Innovation: technological development of semiconductor lasers in Japan, 1960-90
Technology-intensive industries became the key industries in Japan from the late 1970s. This paper examines how technology-intensive industries gained competitiveness against global competition in the US. How did the patterns of comparative advantage emerge? This paper aims to show how different patterns of competition among the US and Japanese firms affected the areas in which knowledge spillover effects emerged and resulted in the different paths of technological development.
Market Transparency, Uniform Measurements and Standardized Qualities: institutional change in 19th century Britain
We live in a world of standards dominated by products that are interchangeable. But before modern societies began producing and using standardized products, they needed to agree on a way to standardize quantity, without which we cannot have products or parts that work well together. Using the way coal used to be measured, this paper examines how and why we standardized quantity - why do we measure coal by weight?
Ernesto 'Che' Guevara: a rebel against Soviet political economy
Popular biographies, memoirs, academic articles and political tracts have focussed on Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's military commitment to revolutionary social change, yet his most significant contribution, his economic ideas and work in the Cuban government (1959-1965) remains largely unknown. Far from the romantic image of the armed revolutionary, this paper reveals an intellectual who studied Karl Marx's Capital with scientific rigour.
Guevara challenged the way in which Marxism had been interpreted and applied in the socialist bloc, condemned Soviet dogmatism and set up an alternative economic management system in Cuba.
Saturday 31 March
The Emergence of Rights-based Multinationals: sunk costs, property rights and the political economy of globalisation, 1945-2000
Dr Gerben Bakker
Industries dependent on the existence and enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as music, motion pictures, pharmaceuticals and computer software, have become increasingly important during the twentieth century. Later in the century, changes in the business environment increasingly favored transactions through the market. At the same time, markets for rights-based products were expanding rapidly. Yet, in many rights-based industries concentration increased. This paper argues that in each of these businesses a few multinationals developed a new rights-based organizational structure that enabled them to survive and prosper in an adverse environment that was pulling activities away to smaller local firms and market transactions.
Sunday 1 April
Exploring the Evolution of Living Standards in Ghana, 1880-2000: an anthropometric approach
Dr Gareth Austin, LSE, Jorg Baten, University of Tuebingen and CESifo, and Alexander Moradi, University of Oxford
How did the living standards of African populations develop in the long run? Ghana provides interesting insights into African diversity and this paper gives, for the first time, a long run trend can be estimated for an African country.
The results indicate that the difficult situation of the 1880s and 1890s led to decreasing heights, partially caused by the violent conflicts of the time. Between 1900 and mid-20th century, the height values improved substantially. The increment exceeds the one that could be considered a peace dividend. Indeed, the biological component of the standard of living has developed more positively than previously thought. The African peasantry has flourished and poverty fell significantly. The development after Independence displays much lower height increases and a nutritional crisis occurred in the 1970s when Ghanaians were hit by a severe economic crisis.
The Economic History Society annual conference is on Friday 30 March to Sunday 1 April at the University of Exeter.
29 March 2007