Turnpikes and Toll Roads in Nineteenth-Century America

Daniel B. Klein, Santa Clara University and John Majewski, University of California – Santa Barbara 1 Private turnpikes were business corporations that built and maintained a road for the right to collect fees from travelers.2 Accounts of the nineteenth-century transportation revolution often treat turnpikes as merely a prelude to more important improvements such as canals […]

History of the U.S. Telegraph Industry

Tomas Nonnenmacher, Allegheny College Introduction The electric telegraph was one of the first telecommunications technologies of the industrial age. Its immediate predecessors were homing pigeons, visual networks, the Pony Express, and railroads. By transmitting information quickly over long distances, the telegraph facilitated the growth in the railroads, consolidated financial and commodity markets, and reduced information […]

The History of the International Tea Market, 1850-1945

Bishnupriya Gupta, University of Warwick Demand for Tea “Tea is better than wine for it leadeth not to intoxication, neither does it cause a man to say foolish things and repent there of in his sober moments. It is better than water for it does not carry disease; neither does it act like poison as […]

The Economic History of Taiwan

Kelly Olds, National Taiwan University Geography Taiwan is a sub-tropical island, roughly 180 miles long, located less than 100 miles offshore of China’s Fujian province. Most of the island is covered with rugged mountains that rise to over 13,000 feet. These mountains rise directly out of the ocean along the eastern shore facing the Pacific […]

Sweden – Economic Growth and Structural Change, 1800-2000

Lennart Schön, Lund University This article presents an overview of Swedish economic growth performance internationally and statistically and an account of major trends in Swedish economic development during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.1 Modern economic growth in Sweden took off in the middle of the nineteenth century and in international comparative terms Sweden has been […]

The 1929 Stock Market Crash

Harold Bierman, Jr., Cornell University Overview The 1929 stock market crash is conventionally said to have occurred on Thursday the 24th and Tuesday the 29th of October. These two dates have been dubbed “Black Thursday” and “Black Tuesday,” respectively. On September 3, 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high of 381.2. At […]

A History of the Standard of Living in the United States

Richard H. Steckel, Ohio State University Methods of Measuring the Standard of Living During many years of teaching, I have introduced the topic of the standard of living by asking students to pretend that they would be born again to unknown (random) parents in a country they could choose based on three of its characteristics. […]

Slavery in the United States

Jenny Bourne, Carleton College Slavery is fundamentally an economic phenomenon. Throughout history, slavery has existed where it has been economically worthwhile to those in power. The principal example in modern times is the U.S. South. Nearly 4 million slaves with a market value estimated to be between $3.1 and $3.6 billion lived in the U.S. […]

History of Workplace Safety in the United States, 1880-1970

Mark Aldrich, Smith College The dangers of work are usually measured by the number of injuries or fatalities occurring to a group of workers, usually over a period of one year. 1 Over the past century such measures reveal a striking improvement in the safety of work in all the advanced countries. In part this […]

Rural Electrification Administration

Laurence J. Malone, Hartwick College Market Failure in Delivering Electricity to Rural Areas Before 1930 The advent of the electric industry in the 1880s ushered forward a rapidly expanding domestic market in the United States. The physical scale of the electric utility industry mirrored the national economy that sprung up with it — massive power […]