Concrete Economics: The Hamiltonian Approach to Economic Growth and Policy

Published by EH.Net (December 2016) Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong, Concrete Economics: The Hamiltonian Approach to Economic Growth and Policy. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2016. xi + 223 pp. $28 (cloth), ISBN: 978-1-422-18981-8. Reviewed for EH.Net by Richard M. Salsman, Program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Duke University. When the U.S. has […]

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War

Published by EH.Net (July 2016) Robert J. Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War.¬† Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016. vii + 762 pp. $40 (cloth), ISBN: 978-0-691-14772-7. Reviewed for EH.Net by Robert A. Margo, Department of Economics, Boston University. This is the age of […]

An Economic History of Weather Forecasting

Erik D. Craft, University of Richmond Introduction The United States Congress established a national weather organization in 1870 when it instructed the Secretary of War to organize the collection of meteorological observations and forecasting of storms on the Great Lakes and Atlantic Seaboard. Large shipping losses on the Great Lakes during the 1868 and 1869 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Public Sector Pensions in the United States

Lee A. Craig, North Carolina State University Introduction Although employer-provided retirement plans are a relatively recent phenomenon in the private sector, dating from the late nineteenth century, public sector plans go back much further in history. From the Roman Empire to the rise of the early-modern nation state, rulers and legislatures have provided pensions for […]

Japanese Industrialization and Economic Growth

Carl Mosk, University of Victoria Japan achieved sustained growth in per capita income between the 1880s and 1970 through industrialization. Moving along an income growth trajectory through expansion of manufacturing is hardly unique. Indeed Western Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States all attained high levels of income per capita by shifting from agrarian-based production […]

A Brief Economic History of Modern Israel

Nadav Halevi, Hebrew University The Pre-state Background The history of modern Israel begins in the 1880s, when the first Zionist immigrants came to Palestine, then under Ottoman rule, to join the small existing Jewish community, establishing agricultural settlements and some industry, restoring Hebrew as the spoken national language, and creating new economic and social institutions. […]

Industrial Sickness Funds

John E. Murray, University of Toledo Overview and Definition Industrial sickness funds provided an early form of health insurance. They were financial institutions that extended cash payments and in some cases medical benefits to members who became unable to work due to sickness or injury. The term industrial sickness funds is a later construct which […]

Hours of Work in U.S. History

Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University In the 1800s, many Americans worked seventy hours or more per week and the length of the workweek became an important political issue. Since then the workweek’s length has decreased considerably. This article presents estimates of the length of the historical workweek in the U.S., describes the history of the […]