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    ABSTRACT: Training through apprenticeship provided the main mechanism for occupational human capital formation in pre-industrial England. This paper demonstrates how training premiums (fees) complemented the formal legal framework surrounding apprenticeship to secure training contracts. Premiums varied in response to scarcity rents, the expected productivity of masters and apprentices, and served as compensation for the anticipated risk of default. In most trades premiums were small enough to allow access to apprenticeship training for youths from modest families.
    Explorations in Economic History 07/2013; 50(3):335–350. DOI:10.1016/j.eeh.2013.02.001
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    ABSTRACT: Cross-sectional studies of growth in post-colonial Africa have overwhelmingly focussed on explaining the failure of growth in Africa. This prompting stylised fact has its qualifications and when these are taken into consideration the explanations of African economic growth appear incoherent. The notion of a chronic African growth failure has diverted attention from the process of economic growth and left important questions unaddressed. The quest for the African dummy has delivered transferable conclusions with a strong impact on the writing of African economic history. This critical survey of the literature argues that African economic performance needs to be evaluated from a different perspective. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of International Development 03/2011; 23(2):288 - 307. DOI:10.1002/jid.1603
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    ABSTRACT: This paper employs a new method and dataset to estimate the effect of currency unions on the integration of financial markets in late Medieval Central Europe. The analysis reveals that membership in a union was significantly correlated with well-integrated markets. We also examine whether currency unions were endogenous. Our results indicate that where unions were established, markets had been significantly better integrated already in the preceding period. In addition, we show that currency unions created by autonomous merchant towns were better integrated than unions implemented by territorial rulers. The overall implication is that monetary diversity was a corollary of weakly integrated markets in late Medieval Central Europe.
    Explorations in Economic History 01/2011; 48(1-48):53-65. DOI:10.1016/j.eeh.2010.09.002
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    ABSTRACT: A heated ethical and professional debate occurred in the United States in the late 1980s over whether doctors had an ethical obligation to treat people with AIDS. Sparked by public refusals to treat by physicians, the debate was linked to changes in the epidemic and general tensions about the character of the profession. Despite widespread public consensus on the existence of a duty, the outcome of the debate was limited. Physicians' obligations for HIV/AIDS were defined by law; no general and durable obligation in the face of epidemics was secured. The professional system proved weak in the face of potential crisis.
    Bulletin of the history of medicine 01/2011; 85(4):620-49. DOI:10.1353/bhm.2011.0092
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    ABSTRACT: This article mobilizes and integrates both existing and new time series data on real wages, physical heights and age-heaping to examine the long-term trend of living standards and human capital for China during the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. Our findings confirm the existence of a substantial gap in living standards between China and North-western Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They also reveal a sustained decline in living standards and human capital at least in South China from the mid-nineteenth century followed by a recovery in the early twentieth century. However, comparative examination of age-heaping data shows that the level of Chinese human capital was relatively high by world standard during this period. We make a preliminary exploration of the historical implication of our findings.
    Explorations in Economic History 09/2009; DOI:10.1016/j.eeh.2009.09.003
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    ABSTRACT: Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson have dramatically challenged the tendency of economists to confine their empirical search for the causes of economic growth to the recent past. They argue that the kind of institutions established by European colonialists, either protecting private property or extracting rents, resulted in the poorer parts of the pre-colonial world becoming some of the richest economies of today; while transforming some of the more prosperous parts of the non-European world of 1500 into the poorest economies today. This view has been further elaborated for Africa by Nunn, with reference to slave trading. Drawing on African and comparative economic historiography, the present paper endorses the importance of examining growth theories against long-term history: revealing relationships that recur because the situations are similar, as well as because of path dependence as such. But it also argues that the causal relationships involved are more differentiated than is recognised in AJR's formulations. By compressing different historical periods and paths, the 'reversal' thesis over-simplifies the causation. Relatively low labour productivity was a premise of the external slave trades; though the latter greatly reinforced the relative poverty of many Sub-Saharan economies. Again, it is important to distinguish settler and non-settler economies within colonial Africa itself. In the latter case it was in the interests of colonial regimes to support, rather than simply extract from, African economic enterprise. Finally, economic rent and economic growth have often been joint products, including in pre-colonial and colonial Africa; the kinds of institutions that favoured economic growth in certain historical contexts were not necessarily optimal for that purpose in others. AJR have done much to bring development economics and economic history together. The next step is a more flexible conceptual framework, and a more complex explanation. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of International Development 11/2008; 20(8):996-1027. DOI:10.1002/jid.1510
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    ABSTRACT: The islands of Cyprus and Malta have been considered as similar economically to other South-Eastern European states, despite the lack of historical evidence to prove it. The paper uses recently complied primary sector output estimates for the interwar period (1921 – 1938) to evaluate that the economic structure of the islands was different from each other, as well as from other South-Eastern European states. The agricultural sector of the islands failed to keep up with the other states due to growth constraints. Due to the lack of a healthy system, rural credit was particularly problematic as it prevented a shift to products for which the islands held a comparative advantage.
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    ABSTRACT: This article seeks to revise and re-apply the factor endowments perspective on African history. The propositions that sub-Saharan Africa was characterized historically by land abundance and labour scarcity, and that the natural environment posed severe constraints on the exploitation of the land surplus, are broadly upheld. Important alterations are suggested, however, centred on the seasonality of labour supply, Ruf's concept of ‘forest rent’, and, for precolonial economies, the role of fixed capital. This revised endowments framework is then applied in order to explore the long-term dynamics of economic development in Africa, focusing on how the economic strategies of producers and political authorities created specific paths of change which shifted the production possibility frontiers of the economies concerned, and ultimately altered the very factor ratios to which the strategies had been responses.
    The Economic History Review 07/2008; 61(3):587 - 624. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-0289.2007.00409.x
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    ABSTRACT: This paper brings a historical perspective to debates on worktime differences across OECD countries, exploiting new data sets on hours of work per week, and days and hours of work per year between 1870 and 2000. We contest the popular view that the divergence in worktimes between Europe and North America and Australia is a recent phenomenon. Since 1870 the decline in weekly and annual hours was consistently greater in the Old World; the New World has had fewer days off for the last 130 years. Labor power and inequality, held to be important determinants of worktime after 1970, had comparable effects in the period before 1913. We find that given their levels of income in 1870 New World workers supplied relatively too many hours of work.
    Explorations in Economic History 10/2007; DOI:10.1016/j.eeh.2007.03.002
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    ABSTRACT: The small flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana is the best-studied model organism in plant biology. More resources are allocated to research on this little weed than to the study of well-known favourites such as worms, fruit flies and mice. Yet, up to the early 1980s plant biologists had every good reason to ignore Arabidopsis: neither did it seem to possess the characteristics of a good model organism, nor did it have any agricultural promise. The sudden prestige acquired by Arabidopsis research thus constitutes a remarkable historical puzzle. What made the mouse cress into the most successful model organism to date?
    Endeavour 04/2007; 31(1):34-8. DOI:10.1016/j.endeavour.2007.01.003
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