Proposal preview

19th Century Dissertation Competition

Dissertation competition and presentations on topics from the Long 19th Century.

Organizer(s)

  • Stephen N. Broadberry University of Oxford stephen.broadberry@economics.ox.ac.uk United Kingdom

Session members

  • Ghassan Moazzin, Cambridge University/The University of Tokyo
  • Charles P. Read, Cambridge University
  • Anna Missiaia, London School of Economics/Lund University

Discussant(s)

  • Stephen N. Broadberry University of Oxford stephen.broadberry@economics.ox.ac.uk

Papers

Panel abstract

1st half

Networks of Capital: German Bankers and the Financial Internationalisation of China (1885-1919)

Ghassan Moazzin

This dissertation examines the hitherto neglected role foreign, and specifically German, bankers played in the Chinese economy and the history of modern economic globalisation in China during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By following the history of the German Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in China between the 1890s and the end of the First World War, this dissertation shows how the interaction between foreign bankers and Chinese officials, bankers and entrepreneurs led to the rapid internationalisation of Chinese finance, both in terms of public finance and the banking sector of China’s treaty port economy. In contrast to most previous literature, which only depicts foreign banks in modern China as mere manifestations of foreign imperialism, this dissertation demonstrates that foreign banks acted as intermediary institutions that financially connected China to the first global economy and provided the financial infrastructure necessary to make modern economic globalisation in China during the late 19th...

This dissertation examines the hitherto neglected role foreign, and specifically German, bankers played in the Chinese economy and the history of modern economic globalisation in China during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By following the history of the German Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in China between the 1890s and the end of the First World War, this dissertation shows how the interaction between foreign bankers and Chinese officials, bankers and entrepreneurs led to the rapid internationalisation of Chinese finance, both in terms of public finance and the banking sector of China’s treaty port economy. In contrast to most previous literature, which only depicts foreign banks in modern China as mere manifestations of foreign imperialism, this dissertation demonstrates that foreign banks acted as intermediary institutions that financially connected China to the first global economy and provided the financial infrastructure necessary to make modern economic globalisation in China during the late 19th and early 20th centuries possible.

British Economic Policy and Ireland c.1841-53

Charles P. Read

The Irish famine is the worst economic crisis in the history of the modern British Isles, killing a million people. Since the 1990s there has been a scholarly consensus that “laissez-faire” ideas took hold of British politicians and were to blame for the severe death toll. This dissertation provides the first major challenge to that consensus in three decades. Bringing together qualitative research from newly-available British and Irish archives and quantitative analysis of newly-collected food-price and financial data, the dissertation presents a radically new narrative. The 1840s did not mark the apex of “laissez-faire” but a decade of unprecedented British interventions in Ireland’s economy. A set of severe financial crises caused by these policies resulted in the government scaling back relief efforts in 1847. Afterwards the Irish economy collapsed not because of too little intervention, but due to the unintended consequences of re-distributive policies intended to help Ireland’s poor.

The Irish famine is the worst economic crisis in the history of the modern British Isles, killing a million people. Since the 1990s there has been a scholarly consensus that “laissez-faire” ideas took hold of British politicians and were to blame for the severe death toll. This dissertation provides the first major challenge to that consensus in three decades. Bringing together qualitative research from newly-available British and Irish archives and quantitative analysis of newly-collected food-price and financial data, the dissertation presents a radically new narrative. The 1840s did not mark the apex of “laissez-faire” but a decade of unprecedented British interventions in Ireland’s economy. A set of severe financial crises caused by these policies resulted in the government scaling back relief efforts in 1847. Afterwards the Irish economy collapsed not because of too little intervention, but due to the unintended consequences of re-distributive policies intended to help Ireland’s poor.

Industrial Location, Market Access and Economic Development: Regional Patterns in Post-Unification Italy

Anna Missiaia

What accounts for the different economic performance of the Italian regions in the post-Unification period? This thesis seeks to explain the regional patterns of economic development and industrialization in Italy in the period 1871-1911. The first chapter examines regional border effects in the distribution of industrial employment, showing that the Italian regions represented meaningful and diversified economic entities. The second chapter investigates the relationship between economic performance and market access, finding that domestic market access was a strong determinant of regional GDP per capita while access to the international markets was not. This result rules out the physical proximity of Northern regions to the core of Europe as explanation to the North-South divide. The last chapter explains the location of industries using both the Heckscher-Ohlin and the New Economic Geography theories, finding that endowments that were more abundant in the North were the main driver of the first Italian industrialization.

What accounts for the different economic performance of the Italian regions in the post-Unification period? This thesis seeks to explain the regional patterns of economic development and industrialization in Italy in the period 1871-1911. The first chapter examines regional border effects in the distribution of industrial employment, showing that the Italian regions represented meaningful and diversified economic entities. The second chapter investigates the relationship between economic performance and market access, finding that domestic market access was a strong determinant of regional GDP per capita while access to the international markets was not. This result rules out the physical proximity of Northern regions to the core of Europe as explanation to the North-South divide. The last chapter explains the location of industries using both the Heckscher-Ohlin and the New Economic Geography theories, finding that endowments that were more abundant in the North were the main driver of the first Italian industrialization.

2nd half