Monday, 16 June 2014

Gender in Economic History

Scandinavian Economic History Review launches a Gender in Economic History Virtual Special Issue

Gender’ is a central category in political and social debates on equal rights and opportunities as well as on inequality, and in broader cultural discussions. It seems widely underused and too narrowly used in economic history where the major focus is still on equal wages and participation of women in the labour market. Other aspects of ‘gender’, for example relating to entrepreneurial activity, to the business of sex, to ‘maleness’, to consumption or more generally to social life, which are heavily debated in cultural history and cultural studies, do not yet receive sufficient attention in economic and business history. The Scandinavian Economic History Review, is no exception.

Therefore, Scandinavian Economic History Review, launches a virtual special issue about gender issues. The aim is to make a broader audience aware of present and past research published in the journal. The editors of the journal have selected articles published over the last two decades to show how the discussion has developed over time. The Scandinavian Economic History Review also encourages researchers to further advance the field in new directions and to submit manuscripts dealing with new approaches to ‘gender’ in economic history.

Read more from the journal here.

Jacob Weisdorf, Alfred Reckendrees (editors)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Kent FRESH meeting

Dinner at Café du Soleil, Canterbury 
The Kent FRESH meeting took place on June 5, 2014 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. The day started with a fascinating keynote lecture given by Patrick Wallis from the LSE on the subject of apprenticeship in early modern England. He was followed by nine excellent presentations, and as is usual at FRESH meetings there was plenty of valuable discussion for each paper. We enjoyed three great graduate student presentations including Pawel Bukowski at CEU Budapest. He demonstrated convincingly how the historical division of Poland into Prussian, Russian, and Austrian regions has had a long term impact on education in that country today. Meng Wu of the LSE outlined an ambitious research program looking at Chinese savings banks, and Oisin Gilmore of Groningen described an early draft of an investigation of the determinants of postwar growth patterns. The day finished with a delicious meal at ‘Café du Soleil’.

This blog post was written by Paul Sharp, associate professor at University of Southern Denmark.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New EHES Working paper:

Just Add Milk: A Productivity Analysis of the Revolutionary Changes in Nineteenth Century Danish Dairying

"Cows on Saltholm" (Theodor Philippsen, 1892), Danish National Gallery
What is it that makes agricultural producers more productive? In this paper, Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp examine the Danish agricultural revolution, a period when first large and then small farmers caught up quickly with and extended the productivity frontier in milk production – most of it being exported in the form of butter and, as a byproduct, bacon, to the growing industrial cities of Britain. Soon, Danish dairying led the world in terms of productivity. Uniquely in a world perspective, high quality micro-level data exist documenting this episode, from surveys of manor/estate farms conducted by leading dairy economists for the Danish periodical Tidsskrift for Landøkonomi (Danish Journal of Agricultural Economics) over a number of years from 1880.

These farm-level data allow the use of the tool of modern agricultural economists, stochastic frontier analysis, to estimate production functions for milk, using mainly cows and feed as inputs, and to estimate simultaneously the extension of the production possibility frontier (about 0.4 percent per year) and the increase in average efficiency, that is, how close the typical farm is to the frontier, or in other words, whether it uses its inputs to arrive at the maximum possible output. Both together allow for a bottom-up calculation of average total factor productivity (TFP) growth of about 1.5 percent per year between 1880 and 1900, with the possibility of distinguishing the contributions of technical progress (a shift in the frontier), such as the introduction of the new Danish Red breed, and more efficient uses of factors of production in modern dairying, as exemplified by concentrate feeding, year-round production through calving in autumn, and the modernity of the farm as proxied by the use of automatic cream separators. 

The working paper is EHES number 55 and can be found here

Markus Lampe is associate professor
Carlos III University of Madrid
Paul Sharp is associate professor at
of Southern Denmark