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Burnette, J. Topics in United States Economic History
Economics 8: Topics in United States Economic History Fall 1999 Professor Joyce Burnette firstname.lastname@example.org In this class we will learn both economics and history. The events of history will help us to better understand and evaluate economic theory, and economic theory will help us to better understand history. We will learn the importance of economic institutions. The study of history will teach us important lessons about today's economic policies and institutions. This class is organized by topic rather than chronologically. The material we study later in the course may have happened earlier in time. Also, we won't be able to cover everything that happened in US economic history. This course will focus on four main topics: explaining growth, labor, money, and government. Texts Jeremy Atack and Peter Passell, A New Economic View of American History, Second Edition (New York: Norton, 1994) Robert Whaples and Diane Betts, Historical Perspectives on the American Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) Peter Temin, Lessons from the Great Depression (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989) Readings marked with an asterisk are on reserve in the library. Evaluation Your grade will be based on the following: Two tests 15% each Final 20% Paper 1 10% Paper 2 15% Presentation of a Paper 6% Presentation of a Primary Source 6% Homework 6% Participation 7% Students are, of course, expected to attend class, read the assigned readings, and participate in class discussions. Outline and Reading Assignments Introduction I. Wealth and Growth Why is the US so wealthy? What institutions promote growth? A. The Big Picture: Resources, Growth, and the Standard of Living Growth Lab Atack and Passell, pp. xiii-40 B. Industrialization and Protectionism Atack and Passell, Ch. 5, 7 Gavin Wright, "The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879-1940," Whaples and Betts Ch. 13 C. Transportation and Growth Atack and Passell, Ch. 6, 16, 17 Chandler, "The Railroads: The First Modern Business Enterprises," Whaples and Betts, Ch. 10 *O'Rourke and Williamson, "Late Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Factor-Price Convergence: Were Heckscher and Ohlin Right?" Journal of Economic History, Dec. 1994, vol. 54, pp. 892-916 II. Labor How has the US labor force changed over time? How have conditions of work changed? How did slavery compare to indentured servitude? How can we explain the current positions of blacks in the US? A. Description of the Labor Market. Labor Lab Atack and Passell, Ch. 19 Claudia Goldin, "The Changing Economic Role of Women," Whaples and Betts, Ch. 17 B. Immigration Atack and Passell, Ch. 8 *Joseph Ferrie, "The Wealth Accumulation of Antebellum Immigrants to the US, 1840-60," Journal of Economic History, March 1994, pp. 1-33. C. Indentured Servants Atack and Passell, pp. 40-51 Galenson, "The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas," Whaples and Betts, Ch. 4 D. Slavery Atack and Passell, Ch. 11, 12, 13 Fogel and Engerman, "The Anatomy of Exploitation," Whaples and Betts Ch. 5 David and Temin, "Slavery: the Progressive Institution?" Whaples and Betts Ch. 6 E. Emancipation and Reconstruction Atack and Passell, Ch. 14 Ransom and Sutch, "The trap of debt peonage," Whaples and Betts Ch. 8 *Claude Oubre, Forty Acres and a Mule (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978), pp. xi-xv, 18-21, 46-71. III. Money and Banking How do banking institution affect the economy? Have our banking institution improved? What caused the Great Depression? A. Banking in the Nineteenth Century Atack and Passell, Ch. 4, 18 Rockoff, "The 'Wizard of Oz' as Monetary Allegory," Whaples and Betts Ch. 16 B. Causes of the Great Depression Great Depression Lab Atack and Passell, Ch. 20, 21 Friedman and Schwartz, "Factors Accounting for Changes in the Stock of Money," Whaples and Betts Ch. 18 Temin, Lessons from the Great Depression IV. Role of Government How does government policy affect the economy? How has the role of the government changed since over US history? A. Early Government: Continuity of Law and Land Policy Atack and Passell, Ch. 9 B. Labor Law and Substantive Due Process D. Response to the Great Depression Atack and Passell, Ch. 22 E. Growth of Government in the 20th Century Atack and Passell, Ch. 23 *Robert Higgs, "Crisis, Bigger Government, and Ideological Change: Two Hypotheses on the Ratchet Phenomenon," Explorations in Economic History, Jan 1985, vol. 22, pp. 1-28.