Galambos: The Entrepreneurial Culture and the Mysteries of Economic Development

Posted on: December 1st, 2017 by EBHS No Comments

Editors of the Essays in Economic and Business History announce the publication of Louis Galambos’s In Press article forthcoming in the May 2018 printed volume of the journal.

The Entrepreneurial Culture and the Mysteries of Economic Development

Louis Galambos

Culture is easy to study but difficult to specify. This essay attempts to pin down this illusive subject by linking it to entrepreneurship—that is to specific efforts to combine land, labor, capital, and knowledge in the creation of economic activity that has some aspect of novelty. Entrepreneurship is important because of its central role in capitalism. Culture is important because it influences the willingness of individuals to take the risk of exploring possibilities for entrepreneurial ventures even though the most of them will be unsuccessful in the long-run. In search of entrepreneurial culture in America around 1800, this paper examimes immigration, agriculture, commerce, and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in the US. These insights are then employed in an examination of the post-WWII efforts of the World Bank—most of which failed—to promote economic growth in nations that had not yet experienced “modernization.”

Unwritten Rules and Gendered Frames Amongst Probate Appraisers? Evidence from Eighteenth-Century York County, Virginia

Posted on: November 3rd, 2017 by EBHS No Comments

Editors of the Essays in Economic and Business History announce the publication of Wendy Lucas and Noel Campbell’s In Press article forthcoming in the May 2018 printed volume of the journal.

Unwritten Rules and Gendered Frames Amongst Probate Appraisers? Evidence from Eighteenth-Century York County, Virginia

Wendy Lucas and Noel Campbell

This study analyzes inventory appraisals ordered by the county court for those estates undergoing probate in York County, Virginia, between 1700 and 1800 to determine whether local gender-modulated unwritten rules of appraisal or appraisers’ gender-related frames in thought influenced the appraisal process. Regardless of how it occurred, we present evidence that the gender of the decedent, or of others involved in the probate process, statistically influenced appraisals. Although attractive as data sources, researchers have long known that probate materials can be difficult to use. Researchers have rarely written about gender as a source of difficulty, but our results suggest that localized, gender-related behavior by appraisers could further complicate using probate materials to study phenomena ranging from the diffusion of consumer goods or of technology, to the integration of markets, and the growth and distribution of wealth. Most relevantly, our results do not specify a particular data correction precisely because we cannot be sure that we have discovered all, or even the most significant, local, gender-influenced behaviors, nor the variability in these behaviors across time or jurisdictions.

Early American Joint-Stock Investors and Their Challenges Investing in a Physical Structure: The Case of Boston’s Long Wharf, 1710-1825

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017 by EBHS No Comments

Editors of the Essays in Economic and Business History announce the publication of Kelly M. Kilcrease’s In Press article forthcoming in the May 2018 printed volume of the journal.

Early American Joint-Stock Investors and Their Challenges Investing in a Physical Structure: The Case of Boston’s Long Wharf, 1710-1825

Kelly M. Kilcrease

This paper examines the case of Boston’s Long Wharf, a joint-stock company locally chartered in 1710, in order to gain insight into the significant internal and external challenges early American investors faced when their investment was in a physical structure. These challenges that were addressed by the shareholders, who were referred to as the proprietors, are examined over a period of 115 years from the points of the wharf’s construction to its diminution. An analysis of the company’s various records shows that the more serious challenges for the proprietors were seen in building the wharf itself, trying to prevent avoidable damage, addressing maintenance needs, surviving the economic consequences of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and adjusting to Boston’s physical and commercial growth. The paper concludes that the proprietors did an admirable job in addressing the major challenges of their time and produced results that kept the wharf active economically for the long term.