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Historical perspectives on financial development and economic growth

  • Peter L. Rousseau

This paper uses standard tools of empirical macro economics to examine how well the existing historical time series support a role for financial factors in real sector activity in four economies that experienced what are widely considered to be 'financial revolutions' over the past 400 years. The evidence presented for the Dutch Republic (1600-1794), England (1700-1850), the United States (1790-1850), and Japan (1880-1913) suggests that the emergence of financial instruments, institutions, and markets played a central role in promoting trade, commerce, and industrialization. Cross- section regressions with a wider set of countries for the post-1850 period offer additional support for the Schumpeterian view of finance in growth. Though limitations of the available data argue for a cautious interpretation, the findings are consistent with the traditional and more descriptive analyses of these events in the economic history literature, and with results obtained for the post-1960 period by modern macro economists.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 81-106

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2003:i:jul:p:81-106:n:v.85no.4
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  1. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 1999. "Emerging Financial Markets and Early U.S. Growth," NBER Working Papers 7448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bordo, Michael D. & Jonung, Lars, 2000. "A Return to the Convertibility Principle? Monetary And Fiscal Regimes in Historical Perspective," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 415, Stockholm School of Economics.
  3. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  4. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  5. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2003. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 373-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara, 1998. "Stock Markets, Banks, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 537-58, June.
  7. Greenwood, J. & Jovanovic, B., 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, And The Distribution Of Income," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 9002, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
  8. Sims, Christopher A & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1990. "Inference in Linear Time Series Models with Some Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 113-44, January.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld, 1986. "International Finance," NBER Working Papers 2077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David, Paul A., 1967. "The Growth of Real Product in the United States Before 1840: New Evidence, Controlled Conjectures," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 151-197, June.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  12. Greenwood, Jeremy & Smith, Bruce D., 1997. "Financial markets in development, and the development of financial markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 145-181, January.
  13. Huffman, Wallace E & Lothian, James R, 1980. "Money in the United Kingdom, 1833-80," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(2), pages 155-74, May.
  14. Rousseau, Peter L & Wachtel, Paul, 1998. "Financial Intermediation and Economic Performance: Historical Evidence from Five Industrialized Countries," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 657-78, November.
  15. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1968. "Pitfalls in Financial Model-Building," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 244, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Rousseau, Peter L., 1999. "Finance, investment, and growth in Meiji-era Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 185-198, April.
  17. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
  18. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  19. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
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