NBER Working Papers by Lance E. Davis

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

October 2005Historical Financing of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
with Robert Cull, Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal: w11695
We focus on the economies of the North Atlantic Core during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and find that an impressive variety of local financial institutions emerged to supply the needs of SMEs wherever there was sufficient demand for their services. Although these intermediaries had significant weaknesses, they were able to tap into local information networks and so extend credit to firms that were too young or small to secure funds from large regional or national institutions. In addition, by raising the return to savings for local households, they helped to mobilize significant new resources for economic development.

Published: Cull, Robert & Davis, Lance E. & Lamoreaux, Naomi R. & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2006. "Historical financing of small- and medium-size enterprises," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 3017-3042, November. citation courtesy of

August 2005The Highest Price Ever: The Great NYSE Seat Sale of 1928-1929 and Capacity Constraints
with Larry Neal, Eugene N. White: w11556
A surge in orders during the stock market boom of the late 1920s collided against the constraint created by the fixed number of brokers on the New York Stock Exchange. Estimates of the determinants of individual stock bid-ask spreads from panel data reveal that spreads jumped when volume spiked, confirming contemporary observers complaints that there were insufficient counterparties. When the position of the NYSE as the dominant exchange became threatened, the management of the exchange proposed a 25 percent increase in the number of seats in February 1929 by issuing a quarter-seat dividend to all members. While such a "stock split" would be expected to leave the aggregate value of the NYSE unchanged, an event study reveals that its value rose in anticipation of increased efficiency. These...

Published: Davis, Lance E. & Neal, Larry & White, Eugene, 2007. "The Highest Price Ever: The Great NYSE Seat Sale of 1928 1929 and Capacity Constraints," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(03), pages 705-739, September. citation courtesy of

May 1990Risk Sharing, Crew Quality, Labor Shares and Wages in the Nineteenth Century American Whaling Industry
with Robert E. Gallman, Teresa D. Hutchins: h0013
This paper examines 36.640 labor contracts signed between whalemen and the agents who organized 1,258 whaling voyages that departed from New Bedford, Massachusetts between January I. 1840 and December 31, 1858 and between January I and December 31, 1866. The contracts contain information on the whaleman's station (occupation) and on his lay (the fraction of output of the voyage that he was entitled to receive upon completion). The paper investigates the benefits associated with this unique contract. examines the occupational and spatial distribution of lays. and compares wages in whaling with those available in the merchant marine and those earned in shore based pursuits. It also attempts to assess the efficiency of this early labor market and to explore the relationship between the labor ...

Published: T. Weiss, and D. Schaefer, eds., American Economic Development in Historical Perspective, Stanford University Press, 1993

December 1987Productivity in American Whaling: The New Bedford Fleet in the Nineteenth Century
with Robert E. Gallman, Teresa Hutchins: w2477
From the end of the War of 1812 until the Civil War the New Bedford whaling fleet grew spectacularly; thereafter it declined, equally spectacularly. By the end of the century New Bedford's day was over. During the 88 years of this period, the technical configuration of the fleet, the hunting grounds visited, and the types of whales pursued all changed dramatically, and more than once. The literature on whaling suggests that the collapse of the industry was due, in part, to declining productivity, occasioned by the disappearance of the whales (because of over-hunting) and the deterioration of the quality of labor. The shifts in the composition of the fleet are viewed, chiefly, as the result of efforts by whalemen to overcome their problems. In this paper, productivity data (superlative inde...


  • in Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 738-759, December 1987.
  • in Business History Review, vol 62, no. 4
  • in "Markets in History", ed David Galenson, Cambridge University Press
  • in "Quantitative Economic History", N.F.R.Crafts, N.H.Dimsdale, and S. Engerman(eds.) (Oxford:Oxford University Press ,1991), pp.142-164.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us