Institute of New Structural Economics
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2018||Capital Markets and Grain Prices: Assessing the Storage Approach|
with Wolfgang Keller, Carol H. Shiue: w24388
This paper evaluates an approach popularized by McCloskey and Nash (1984) that exploits the fact that grain prices provide information on interest rates. While the grain price approach enables a comparative analysis of capital market development across pre-modern economies and has been applied in various contexts, to date this is the first paper to show how well it captures the actual market development as based on financial data. Using matched data on bank interest rates and grain prices for early 19th century U.S. regions, we show that the grain price approach is useful for capturing differences in capital market development across regions. While estimating particular region-time specific interest rates can be challenging, using both cross-sectional and time-series information the grain ...
|July 2015||Capital Markets in China and Britain, 18th and 19th Century: Evidence from Grain Prices|
with Wolfgang Keller, Carol H. Shiue: w21349
Based on the most comprehensive grain prices available, we employ a storage model to estimate consistent interest rates and compare capital market development in Britain and China. Interest rates for Britain were lower than China’s on average by about three percentage points from 1770 to 1860. Regional capital market integration in the Yangzi Delta comes close to the British average at distances below 200 kilometers, but at larger distances interest rate correlations in Britain are twice those of the Delta, and three or more times as high as elsewhere in China. Overall, our results suggest capital market divergence at an early date.