NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Tomas Nonnenmacher

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Working Papers and Chapters

March 2008Coercion, Culture and Debt Contracts: The Henequen Industry in Yucatan, Mexico, 1870-1915
with Lee Alston, Shannan Mattiace: w13852
While most contemporary historians agree that the use of debt peonage as a coercive labor contract in Mexico was not widespread, scholars still concur that it was important and pervasive in Yucatan state during the henequen boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The henequen boom concurred with the long rule of Porfirio Díaz (1876-1910), under whose watch property rights were reallocated through land laws, and Mexico’s economy became much more closely tied to the United States. In the Yucatan, the accumulation of debts by peons rose as hacendados sought to attract and bond workers to match the rising U.S. demand for twine. We examine the institutional setting in which debt operated and analyze the specific functions of debt: who got it, what form it took, and why it varied across ...
December 2005Who Should Govern Congress? Access to Power and the Salary Grab of 1873
with Lee J. Alston, Jeffery A. Jenkins: w11908
We examine the politics of the %u201CSalary Grab%u201D of 1873, legislation that increased congressional salaries retroactively by 50 percent. A group of New England and Midwestern elites opposed the Salary Grab, along with congressional franking and patronage-based civil service appointments, as part of reform effort to reshape %u201Cwho should govern Congress.%u201D Our analyses of congressional voting confirm the existence of this non-party elite coalition. While these elites lost many legislative battles in the short-run, their efforts kept reform on the legislative agenda throughout the late-nineteenth century and ultimately set the stage for the Progressive movement in the early-twentieth century.
November 2000Social Reformers and Regulation: The Prohibition of Cigarettes in the U.S. and Canada
with Lee J. Alston, Ruth Dupre: h0131
The apogee of anti-smoking legislation in North America was reached early in the last century. In 1903, the Canadian Parliament passed a resolution prohibiting the manufacture, importation, and sale of cigarettes. Around the same time, fifteen states in the United States banned the sale of cigarettes and thirty-five states considered prohibitory legislation. In both the United States and Canada, prohibition was part of a broad political, economic, and social coalition termed the Progressive Movement. Cigarette prohibition was special interest regulation, though not of the usual narrow neoclassical genre; it was the means by which a group of crusaders sought to alter the behavior of a much larger segment of the population. The opponents of cigarette regulation were cigarette smokers an...

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