The 9th SOUND Economic History Workshop

The 9th SOUND Economic History Workshop (21st-22nd May) is now over but has been an inspiring workshop with a wide range of interesting presentations. The workshop, which has been organized by Alfred Reckendrees and Jacob Weisdorf, took place in the modern facilities of Copenhagen Business School surrounded by the lovely parks and neighborhoods of central Copenhagen.

The organizers, Alfred Reckendrees and Jacob Weisdorf

Kevin O’Rourke (All Souls College, University of Oxford) has initiated the workshop with his Wednesday keynote lecture named ‘Coal, colonies and the industrial revolution’ which addresses two largely debated topics of economic history, the role of coal and foreign trade during the industrial revolution. Kevin’s presentation provided an extensive discussion of the current debate on the role of coal in industrial development followed by quantitative evidence which showed a significant impact of coal location on urbanization in Europe. In the second part of his lecture, Kevin then focused on the British continent and the role of foreign trade during the 19th century industrialization. After the debate following Kevin’s speech, the participants could enjoy a nice lunch and walk in the nearby facilities of Copenhagen Business School.

Kevin O’Rourke
The afternoon session offered then a wide range of topics from economic history. Hana Nielsen (Lund University) built on Kevin’s lecture and presented a country-specific study on the role of coal during the Czech industrialization by drawing on spatial analysis of coal and steam data. Åsa Malmström Rognes(Uppsala University) presented one of articles from her upcoming PhD dissertation focusing on family business groups in South-East Asia. In her presentation, Åsa discussed in more detail the role of capital markets for family business groups and how the Asian crisis changed them. Ursula Hård (Stockholm University) also presented a chapter from her coming PhD thesis which analyses the formal and informal institutional possibilities and obstacles that women business owners and entrepreneurs in rural communities face when they through investment in businesses within locally produced foods.
Åsa Malmström Rognes

After a coffee break, Jacob Weisdorf (South Danish University, Odense) presented results of his co-authored working paper (Jane Humphries, University of Oxford) with long-run series of wages of women in England (1260-1850) with a particular focus on the consequences of the Black Death on women’s wages and its implications for the formation of the European Marriage Pattern regime. Last presentation of the first day went then to Eric Bengtsson (University of Gothenburg) in which Eric has provided some comparative analysis of the distribution of income between capital and labor in Denmark and Norway stretching back to 1830 up until now. Following this inspirational day, the participants have then gathered together for an official conference dinner which took place in a close vicinity of Copenhagen Business School.

The second and last day of the SOUND workshop was again initiated by an interesting lecture of keynote speaker, this time Marc Flandreau from the University of Geneva. Marc then gave an inspirational lecture on the rise of rating agencies in the US and provided also with a comparative perspective on the differences between the US and UK in particular. Thor Berger, another speaker from the Lund University, presented results of his joint working paper (with Kerstin Enflo, Lund University) on another classical topic of economic history – the impact of railroads on the regional growth. In the paper, the authors analyze and provide quantitative evidence on the short- and long-run impacts of railroad on city-growth in Sweden for the past 150 years. 

Karol Jan Borowiecki

Karol Jan Borowiecki (South Danish University, Odense) presented his paper on the well-being and creativity of three famous composers and provided quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on the composers’ creativity.
Again, after a refreshing lunch at Copenhagen Business School, the participants gathered for the last session of the SOUND workshop which started with a presentation by Alfred Reckendrees (Copenhagen Business School). In his presentation, Alfred addressed the proposals of industrialist from the district of Aachen to introduce mandatory pension system and minimum wages in a search to prevent future labor conflicts.  

Hana Nielsen

Kerstin Enflo (Lund University) presented a paper on business cycles in the Nordic countries (1834-1945), a joint work together with Mathias Morys (University of York) where the authors utilize new data sets in the frameworks of the Dynamic Factor Model to construct indices for four Scandinavian countries. Last speaker from Uppsala University, Henric Häggvist, closed up the session with an extraction from his PhD research which analyses development in trade tariffs in Sweden. In his presentation, Henric offered a comparative analysis of trade tariffs in the period of 1780-1830 for Sweden and Denmark.

At the very end of the workshop, Alfred Reckendreesdiscussed some issues concerning the journal publishing, in particularly focusing on the ‘do’s and don’t’ of academic writing, which was very helpful for many of the workshop participants. The workshop was then officially concluded. 

This blog post was written by Hana Nielsen, PhD student at Lund University