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The International Natural Rubber Market, 1870-1930

Zephyr Frank, Stanford University and Aldo Musacchio, Ibmec SãoPaulo Overview of the Rubber Market, 1870-1930 Natural rubber was first used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin for a variety of purposes. By the middle of the eighteenth century, Europeans had begun to experiment with rubber as a waterproofing agent. In the early nineteenth […]

David Ricardo

David R. Stead, University of York David Ricardo (1772-1823) was one of the greatest theoretical economists of all time. The third child of Abigail and Abraham (a prosperous Jewish stockbroker who had emigrated to London from Holland), Ricardo attended school in London and Amsterdam and at the age of fourteen entered his father’s business. In […]

The Economics of the American Revolutionary War

Ben Baack, Ohio State University By the time of the onset of the American Revolution, Britain had attained the status of a military and economic superpower. The thirteen American colonies were one part of a global empire generated by the British in a series of colonial wars beginning in the late seventeenth century and continuing […]

Economic History of Retirement in the United States

Joanna Short, Augustana College One of the most striking changes in the American labor market over the twentieth century has been the virtual disappearance of older men from the labor force. Moen (1987) and Costa (1998) estimate that the labor force participation rate of men age 65 and older declined from 78 percent in 1880 […]

Reconstruction Finance Corporation

James Butkiewicz, University of Delaware Introduction The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) was established during the Hoover administration with the primary objective of providing liquidity to, and restoring confidence in the banking system. The banking system experienced extensive pressure during the economic contraction of 1929-1933. During the contraction period, many banks had to suspend business operations […]

The History of the Radio Industry in the United States to 1940

Carole E. Scott, State University of West Georgia The Technological Development of Radio: From Thales to Marconi All electrically-based industries trace their ancestry back to at least 600 B.C. when the Greek philosopher Thales observed that after it is rubbed, amber (electron in Greek) attracts small objects. In 1600, William Gilbert, an Englishman, distinguished between […]

The Protestant Ethic Thesis

Donald Frey, Wake Forest University German sociologist Max Weber (1864 -1920) developed the Protestant-ethic thesis in two journal articles published in 1904-05. The English translation appeared in book form as The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in 1930. Weber argued that Reformed (i.e., Calvinist) Protestantism was the seedbed of character traits and values […]

History of Property Taxes in the United States

Glenn W. Fisher, Wichita State University (Emeritus) Taxes based on ownership of property were used in ancient times, but the modern tax has roots in feudal obligations owned to British and European kings or landlords. In the fourteenth and fifteenth century, British tax assessors used ownership or occupancy of property to estimate a taxpayer’s ability […]

Economic History of Portugal

Luciano Amaral, Universidade Nova de Lisboa Main Geographical Features Portugal is the south-westernmost country of Europe. With the approximate shape of a vertical rectangle, it has a maximum height of 561 km and a maximum length of 218 km, and is delimited (in its north-south range) by the parallels 37° and 42° N, and (in […]

English Poor Laws

George Boyer, Cornell University A compulsory system of poor relief was instituted in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Although the role played by poor relief was significantly modified by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the Crusade Against Outrelief of the 1870s, and the adoption of various social insurance programs in the […]