Thursday , June 17 2021
Home / Bradley A. Hansen’s Blog

Bradley A. Hansen’s Blog

Bradley Hansen is a Professor of Economics at the University of Mary Washington. He supplies commentary on economics, history, law amongst other things that interest him. His posts on economic history are particularly fascinating to read.

Jonathan Levy’s Ages of American Capitalism: My Second Impression

  I finally finished grading and had a chance to read a bit more of Levy’s Ages of American Capitalism. I finished the Age of Capital but still have ages of control and chaos to get through. These may take a while; the closer we get to now the less history interests me. In the meantime, I’ll provide my second impression on the book. See here for the first impression.   As a reminder, Levy is trying write a story of American economic history that is more engaged with economics than...

Read More »

The History of Fredericksburg, VA and the Idea of Reparations

  The following excerpt is from The History of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia prepared by Silvanus Jackson Quinn for the Common Council of the City of Fredericksburg in 1908.  Unfortunately, it does not provide any citations for the story. Nevertheless, parts of the story ring true: the initial hope that justice would be done, the disappointment when it was not, the loss of faith in the government institution, and the authors repetition, a half century after the events, of the belief...

Read More »

A model of Levy’s economic theory?

  Last week I wrote some thoughts about Jonathan Levy’s new book Ages of American Capitalism. My copy of the book arrived, but I have been too busy with classes to get to it. I did, however, find it interesting that a new working paper from the NBER presented a model of business cycles that (to me at least) sounded very similar to Levy. Here is how I described Levy’s theory: “My reading of Levy’s second and third theses together is that he thinks that a preference for holding wealth in a...

Read More »

Congratulations to Nominees and Winners of Business History Conference Prizes

Hagley PrizeThe prize is awarded jointly by the Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference to the best book in business history (broadly defined). 2021 Recipients·         Marcia Chatelain, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (WW Norton: 2019).·         Ben Marsh, Unravelled Dreams: Silk and the Atlantic World, 1500–1840 (Cambridge: 2020). 2021 Finalists (in alphabetical order)·         Marcia Chatelain, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (WW...

Read More »

Historians and Economic Historians in Conversation

  The video of Historians and Economic Historians in Conversation from Economics for Inclusive Prosperity is now available. The conversation includes Trevon Logan, Jonathan Levy, Suresh Naidu, Gavin Wright, Caitlin Rosenthal and Shari Eli is available now. My brief summary is that historians and economists should try to communicate more even when it is difficult. Communication would be easier if historians learned more about quantitative analysis and economists spent more time in archives....

Read More »

2020 Some Thoughts on the Year in American Economic History

  1.       Was Fogel wrong?     Hornbeck, Richard, and Martin Rotemberg. Railroads, reallocation, and the rise of American manufacturing. No. w26594. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019.   Here is an attempt to explain the argument to a wide audience.   The NBER working paper came out last year but the paper started getting more attention this year and was presented at the meeting of the Economic History Association. Fogel estimated the impact of railroads in the late...

Read More »

The Use of Models in Economics and Business History: An Appreciation of Maggie Levenstein

  This post was prompted by some things I have seen on the internet lately (especially Twitter) about economic models. Specifically, I am referring to suggestions that economists shouldn’t teach the model of perfect competition, or should de-emphasize it, because markets in the real world are not competitive. These suggestions reminded me of one of my favorite papers Margaret Levenstein’s presidential address to the Business History Conference "Escape from equilibrium: thinking...

Read More »

Thaler and Twitter on Auctions and Nudges

  Richard Thaler has an essay in the New York Times about Covid shots in which he advocates a combination of auctions and “nudges.” As always there are interesting responses on Twitter. I saw several people suggesting that it was affine illustration of the evils of modern economics. I have a hard time seeing that.   First, lets start with the auction part. Thaler starts from the position that markets should not be used to allocate the shots. In the market solution, the shots would those...

Read More »

The Green Books and American Economic History

  I finally had a chance to read the NBER working paper by Lisa Cook, Maggie E.C. Jones, David Rosé, and  Trevon D. Logan on The Green Books and the Geography of Segregation in Public Accommodations. They identified the locations of businesses listed in the Green Books and then analyzed how they changed over time as well as how the locations were related to other characteristics of the areas where  they were located.  Their primary conclusions are described in the abstract: Jim Crow...

Read More »