I just came across several new working papers that look checking out.
1. The untold story of the Mexican debt crisis: Domestic banks and external debt, 1977-1989 by Sebastian Alvarez
Scholars have thus far neglected the role played by Mexican banks in international capital markets and in the country’s external indebtedness process. This paper argues that the imbalances which Mexican banks incurred in running their international operations eventually brought them to the brink of bankruptcy once the crisis began. Given that the banks that were at risk represented a large share of the domestic market, this paper argues the whole Mexican banking system was threatened with collapse. The improved understanding of the banking system’s exposure to and dependence on foreign finance provides new insights into Mexico’s debt renegotiation outcomes and the nationalization of the banking system in the aftermath of the crisis. —
2. Two Centuries of International Migration by Tim Hatton
We focus principally on long-distance migration to rich destination countries, the settler economies in the nineteenth century and later the OECD. The chapter describes the structure, direction and determinants of migration flows and the assimilation experience of migrants. It also examines the impact of migration on destination and source countries, and explores the political economy behind the evolution of immigration policy. We provide an historical context for current debates on immigration and immigration policy and we conclude by speculating on future trends.
3. The Long-Term Effects of Protestant Activities in China by Yuyu Chen
Combining county-level data on Protestant presence in 1920 and socioeconomic indicators in 2000, we find that the spread of Protestantism has generated significant positive effects in long-term economic growth, educational development, and health care outcomes. To better understand whether the relationship is causal, we exploit the fact that missionaries purposefully undertook disaster relief work to gain the trust of the local people. Thus, we use the frequency of historical disasters as an instrument for Protestant distribution. When we further investigate the transmission channels over the long historical period between 1920 and 2000, we find that although improvements in education and health care outcomes account for a sizable portion of the total effects of missionaries’ past activities on today’s economic outcomes, Protestant activities may have also contributed to long-term economic growth through other channels, such as through transformed social values. If so, then a significant amount of China’s growth since 1978 is the result not just of sudden institutional changes but of human capital and social values acquired over a longer historical period.
4. Why didn’t economists predict the Great Depression? by Leon Taylor
I’m sure this paper is worth checking out too, but I included it because my first thought was that you could replace the words “Great Depression” with almost anything else and still be accurate. It would have been way more surprising if economists actually did predict something that actually happened (we’re good at predicting things that don’t happen or things that happened in the past!).