WorldCat Identities

Atack, Jeremy

Works: 100 works in 352 publications in 3 languages and 4,700 library holdings
Genres: History  Conference papers and proceedings 
Roles: Author, Editor, Other
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by Jeremy Atack
The origins and development of financial markets and institutions : from the seventeenth century to the present by Jeremy Atack( )

24 editions published between 2009 and 2010 in English and held by 1,093 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Collectively, mankind has never had it so good despite periodic economic crises of which the current sub-prime crisis is merely the latest example. Much of this success is attributable to the increasing efficiency of the world's financial institutions as finance has proved to be one of the most important causal factors in economic performance. In a series of original essays, leading financial and economic historians examine how financial innovations from the seventeenth century to the present have continually challenged established institutional arrangements, forcing change and adaptation by governments, financial intermediaries, and financial markets. Where these have been successful, wealth creation and growth have followed. When they failed, growth slowed and sometimes economic decline has followed. These essays illustrate the difficulties of coordinating financial innovations in order to sustain their benefits for the wider economy, a theme that will be of interest to policy makers as well as economic historians."--Jacket
To their own soil : agriculture in the Antebellum North by Jeremy Atack( Book )

10 editions published in 1987 in English and held by 543 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This book attempts to redress the imbalance in knowledge of southern and northern agriculture before the Civil War. Against the rich historical analysis and description of the slave South must be compared the relative paucity of quantitative analysis, and even description, of antebellum northern agriculture. The study is the first of its kind to organize a large sample of quantitative data drawn from across the northern tier of the United States. The temporal coverage is the second half of the nineteenth century with the primary emphasis on the late antebellum period. What emerges is a detailed quantitative description and analysis of norther agriculture. This compelling picture provides not merely a statistical profile but also a revealing insight into american behavior and attitudes in the nineteenth century. The northern United States throughout most of the nineteenth century, with its peculiar notions of independence, mobility, equality, and agrarianism, was even perceived by contemporaries as an experiment. Yeoman agriculture represented the economic foundation for this ideal world whose success or failure largely depended upon how closely the agricultural ideal could be approached. Analytically, measuring the agricultural record indirectly assesses the success of this entire vision of democratic America. This clear recurrent theme that emerges throughout the book is the tension that existed between national pursuit of a new kind of social order characterized by individualism, independence, and self-containment founded upon a tightly knit family system, on the one side, and the drive for a market-oriented, capitalistic national economy in which farming assumed the trappings of a business enterprise, on the other. Conflict was inevitable. Ultimately, the forces of market capitalism based upon interdependent national economic system dominated, but the national split personality, though overwhelmed by the onrushing forces of the business system and corporate industrial enterprise, persisted into the twentieth century reappearing as periodical agrarian unrest even into the current decade. -- publisher description
A new economic view of American history : from colonial times to 1940 by Jeremy Atack( Book )

16 editions published between 1979 and 1996 in English and Undetermined and held by 524 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Did mercantilism cause the American Revolution? Was slavery profitable? What contribution did migration and immigration make to the economic growth of the nation? How effective has government intervention been in the redistribution of income? Do we know enough about the causes of the Great Depression to prevent another one? Did the New Deal save American capitalism or undermine it? What is the record on tariff policy? These are just a few of the centrally important questions in American history that are illuminated in this book
Quantity & quiddity : essays in U.S. economic history by Peter Kilby( Book )

11 editions published in 1987 in English and held by 467 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Estimation of economies of scale in nineteenth century United States manufacturing by Jeremy Atack( Book )

10 editions published between 1985 and 2018 in English and Welsh and held by 151 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"On economies of scale during the nineteenth century, much is assumed, but little is known. This study, first published in 1985, seeks to close this gap in our knowledge by providing comprehensive empirical evidence on the status of economies of scale in mid-nineteenth century manufacturing industry. This evidence is in the form of production function estimates made using data from the manuscripts of the federal censuses of manufacturing for 1850, 1860 and 1870"--Provided by publisher
Rising wage dispersion across American manufacturing establishments, 1850-1880 by Jeremy Atack( )

9 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 121 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We use data from the manuscript censuses of manufacturing for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 to study the dispersion of average monthly wages across establishments. We find a marked increased in wage inequality over the period, an increase that cannot be explained by biases in the data or changes in census enumeration procedures. Based on log wage regressions on establishment characteristics we compute a decomposition of the change in wage inequality between 1850 and 1880. The decomposition reveals that changes in wage structure' the regression coefficients and the standard error of the residuals largely offset each: changes in the coefficients produced a reduction in wage inequality, while residual inequality increased. Most of the rise in wage inequality can be attributed to an increased concentration of employment in large establishments, which paid relatively low wages. We present indirect evidence that the negative effect of size on wages reflected differences in skill composition: workforces in large establishments were less skilled than in small establishments
Capital deepening in American manufacturing, 1850-1880 by Jeremy Atack( )

12 editions published in 2003 in English and Dutch and held by 115 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We use establishment-level data to study capital deepening -- increases in the capital-output ratio -- in American manufacturing from 1850 to 1880. In nominal terms, the aggregate capital-output ratio in our samples rose by 30 percent from 1850 to 1880. Growth in real terms was considerably greater -- 70 percent -- because prices of capital goods declined relative to output prices. Cross-sectional regressions suggest that capital deepening was especially importnat in the larger firms and was positively associated with the diffusion of steam-powered machinery. However, even after accounting for shifts over time in such factors, much of the capital deepening remains to be explained. Although capital deepening implies a fall in the average product of capital it does not necessarily imply that rates of return were declining. However, we find strong evidence that returns did decline. We also show that returns were decreasing in firm size, although the data are not sufficiently informative to tell us why it was so
Whom did protective legislation protect? : evidence from 1880 by Jeremy Atack( )

12 editions published between 1991 and 1992 in English and held by 108 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

After sketching various ways in which economic issues influenced the political realignment of the 1850s, the paper concentrates on five questions: (1) the timing of the economic issues and the disjunctions in economic developments across regions and classes; (2) the size of the nonagricultural male labor force of the North toward the end of the 1850s and the ethnic and residential distributions of these workers; (3) changes in the ethnic composition of the northern electorate and the sharp shift in the partisan affiliations of "Old Americans," especially between 1852 and 1860; (4) problems in measuring the ups and downs in the standard of living of northern nonagricultural workers between 1840 and 1860 and provisional estimates of the decline in their real wages between 1848 and 1855; (5) a provisional estimate of the excess supply of labor during 1854-1855 created by the unfortunate phasing of three cycles (the collapse of a long cycle in construction, the coincident trough of a relatively mild trade cycle, and the continued upswing of a long cycle in immigration)
How long was the workday in 1880? by Jeremy Atack( )

12 editions published in 1990 in English and held by 106 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We know remarkably little about the length of the working day before the 1880s. In this paper, we summarize what is known about the trend in the length of the workday in American manufacturing industry from 1830 to 1890. We than develop estimates of the daily hours of work and form the basis for our on-going research into the performance and operation of the industrial labor market in America in the late nineteenth century. We conclude on the basis of our firm-level sample data that the average workday in American manufacturing industry in 1880 was almost exactly ten hours, placing the attainment of the ten-hour day almost a decade earlier than hitherto supposed. Despite the decline in hours to 1880, however, daily hours of work were still long enough that they would have required the use of artificial light in most factories during the winter. Our statistical analysis also reveals and documents small but statistically variations in hours between firms and industries and between regions and by location
Steam power, establishment size, and labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing by Jeremy Atack( )

12 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 102 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We use establishment level data from the 1850-80 censuses of manufacturing to study the correlates of the use of steam power and the impact of steam power on labor productivity growth in nineteenth century American manufacturing. A key result is that establishment size mattered: large establishments, as measured by employment, were much more likely to use steam power than smaller establishments. Controlling for firm size, location, industry, and other establishment characteristics, steam powered establishments had higher labor productivity than establishments using hand or animal power, or water power. We also find that the impact of steam on labor productivity was increasing in establishment size. The diffusion of steam power was an important factor behind the growth of labor productivity, accounting for 22 to 41 percent of that growth between 1850 and 1880, depending on establishment size
Louis Brandeis, work and fatigue at the start of the twentieth century : prelude to Oregon's hours limitation law by Jeremy Atack( )

13 editions published in 1991 in English and held by 102 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there was considerable interest among the scientific and business communities in the relationship between work, fatigue, health and productivity. Study after study not only documented well-known relationships between occupation and disease such as mercury poisoning among "mad hatters" but also an increasing body of evidence suggested a causal chain between fatigue induced by long hours of work, specific occupational characteristics and weakened resistance to diseases, especially viral diseases such as tuberculosis that posed specific public health, as well as private health, hazards. This evidence first persuaded the Courts to allow limitations upon the hours of work for women on the grounds of protecting the "weaker sex" and the health of future generations as a public health regulation. Eventually such limits were extended to all workers. In this paper, we analyze the data from an 1892 California Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of 3,493 wage-earners that provides some evidence on the relationship between hours of work and time in a job and worsening health or days of absence from work as a result of ill-health. We conclude that these data support the hypothesis that long hours of work each day in hot and poorly ventilated workshops performing physically or mentally exhausting work at a pace set by inanimate machines was bad for employee health. However, it is hard to make a convincing case for the public regulation of hours and conditions in the workplace as a public, as opposed to a private, health question, except in the case of children, including children in utero, or communicable diseases such as tuberculosis
Did railroads induce or follow economic growth? : urbanization and population growth in the American Midwest, 1850-60 by Jeremy Atack( )

9 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 89 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

For generations of scholars and observers, the "transportation revolution," especially the railroad, has loomed large as a dominant factor in the settlement and development of the United States in the nineteenth century. There has, however, been considerable debate as to whether transportation improvements led economic development or simply followed. Using a newly developed GIS transportation database we examine this issue in the context of the American Midwest, focusing on two indicators of broader economic change, population density and the fraction of population living in urban areas. Our difference in differences estimates (supported by IV robustness checks) strongly suggest that the coming of the railroad had little or no impact upon population densities just as Albert Fishlow concluded some 40 years ago. BUT, our results also imply that the railroad was the "cause" of midwestern urbanization, accounting for more than half of the increase in the fraction of population living in urban areas during the 1850s
Gallman revisited: blacksmithing and American manufacturing, 1850-1870 by Jeremy Atack( )

7 editions published in 2017 in English and held by 86 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In nineteenth century America, blacksmiths were a fixture in every village, town and city, producing a diverse range of products from axes to wheels and services from repairs to horse-shoeing. In constructing his historical GNP accounts Robert Gallman opted to exclude these "jacks-of-all-trades" from the manufacturing sector, classifying them instead as part of the service sector. However, using establishment-level data for blacksmiths from the federal censuses of manufactures for 1850, 1860 and 1870, we re-examine that choice and show that blacksmiths were an important, if declining, source of manufactured goods. Moreover, as quintessential artisan shops, a close analysis of their structure and operation helps resolve several key puzzles regarding industrialization in the nineteenth century. As "jacks-of-all-trades," they were generally masters of none (except for their service activities). Moreover, the historical record reveals that several of those who managed to achieve mastery moved on to become specialized manufacturers of that specific product. Such specialized producers had higher productivity levels than those calling themselves blacksmiths producing the same goods, explaining changes in industry mix and the decline of the blacksmith in manufacturing
Irregular production and time-out-of-work in American manufacturing industry in 1870 and 1880 : some preliminary estimates by Jeremy Atack( )

9 editions published in 1995 in English and held by 83 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper makes use of hitherto untabulated data from the censuses of manufacturing for 1870 and 1880 to investigate the extent to which firms operated at less than their full capacity year round in these census years and thus provides some evidence of the extent to which workers may have faced temporary or permanent lay-off. We conclude that firms nationwide operated for the equivalent of 254 days (out of, perhaps, 309 working days) during the 1870 census year from the end of May, 1869 to the beginning of June, 1870 and 261 days during the 1880 census year from the beginning of June 1879 to the end of May, 1880. Workers put in the equivalent of slightly more days of work in each of these years in their customary industrial employment because larger firms were more likely to operate for more days per year. There were, however, significant regional and industry differences. Although our estimates are broadly consistent with independent estimates and are generally in accord with expectations, they raise important questions about economic performance in the late nineteenth century which remain unanswered here
Railroads and the rise of the factory : evidence for the United States, 1850-70 by Jeremy Atack( )

7 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 82 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Over the course of the nineteenth century manufacturing in the United States shifted from artisan shop to factory production. At the same time United States experienced a "transportation revolution", a key component of which was the building of extensive railroad network. Using a newly created data set of manufacturing establishments linked to county level data on rail access from 1850-70, we ask whether the coming of the railroad increased establishment size in manufacturing. Difference-in-difference and instrument variable estimates suggest that the railroad had a positive effect on factory status. In other words, Adam Smith was right -- the division of labor in nineteenth century American manufacturing was limited by the extent of the market
"Location, location, location!" : the market for vacant urban land : New York 1835-1900 by Jeremy Atack( )

7 editions published in 1996 in English and held by 80 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We present new archival evidence on the price of vacant land in New York City between 1835 and 1900. Before the Civil War, the price of land per square foot fell steeply with distance from New York's City Hall located in the central business district. After the Civil War, the distance gradient flattened and the fit of a simple regression of land price on distance from the CBD declined markedly. Average nominal land prices at the CBD increased at an average annual rate of over 3 percent per year between 1835 and 1895 before declining as the century came to an end
American banking and the transportation revolution before the Civil War by Jeremy Atack( )

5 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 78 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Studies have shown a connection between finance and growth, but most do not consider how financial and real factors interact to put a virtuous cycle of economic development into motion. As the main transportation advance of the 19th century, railroads connected established commercial centers and made unsettled areas along their routes better candidates for development. We measure the strength of links between railroads and banks in seven Midwest states using an annual transportation GIS database linked to a census of banking. These data indicate that those counties that already had a bank were more likely to see their first railroad go through over the next decade, while new banks tended to enter a county a year or two after it got a railroad. The initial banking system thus helped establish the rail system, while the rapid expansion of railroads helped fill in the banking map of the American Midwest
Business activity and the Boston stock market, 1835-1869 by Jeremy Atack( )

7 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 78 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper examines the performance of the Boston stock market, the nation's premier market for industrials, between 1835 and 1869, developing new indexes of price performance, dividend yields and total holding period returns for bank stocks and industrial equities using annual data from Martin (1871). Using these new series and a set of VAR models we conclude that disturbances in the banking sector, as manifested by declines in total stockholder returns, led to increases in short-term lending rates which in turn led to declines in the price performance of traded manufacturing firms. There is no evidence of feedback from manufacturing returns to bank stock prices via lending rates. The findings are consistent with a key role for banks in nineteenth century business fluctuations
Did railroads make antebellum U.S. banks more sound? by Jeremy Atack( )

5 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 77 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We investigate the relationships of bank failures and balance sheet conditions with measures of proximity to different forms of transportation in the United States over the period from 1830-1860. A series of hazard models and bank-level regressions indicate a systematic relationship between proximity to railroads (but not to other means of transportation) and “good” banking outcomes. Although railroads improved economic conditions along their routes, we offer evidence of another channel. Specifically, railroads facilitated better information flows about banks that led to modifications in bank asset composition consistent with reductions in the incidence of moral hazard
Agricultural improvements and access to rail transportation : the American Midwest as a test case, 1850-1860 by Jeremy Atack( )

8 editions published between 2009 and 2010 in English and held by 76 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

During the 1850s, land in U.S. farms surged by more than 100 million acres while almost 50 million acres of land were transformed from their raw, natural state into productive farmland. The time and expense of transforming this land into a productive resource represented a significant fraction of domestic capital formation at the time and was an important contributor to American economic growth. Even more impressive, however, was the fact that almost half of these total net additions to cropland occurred in just seven Midwestern states which comprised barely less than one-eighth of the land area of the country at that time. Using a new GIS-based transportation database linked to county-level census, we estimate that at least a quarter (and possibly two-thirds or more) of this increase can be linked directly to the coming of the railroad to the region. Farmers responded to the shrinking transportation wedge and rising revenue productivity by rapidly expanding the area under cultivation and these changes, in turn, drove rising farm and land values
moreShow More Titles
fewerShow Fewer Titles
Audience Level
Audience Level
  General Special  
Audience level: 0.43 (from 0.16 for The origin ... to 0.65 for Estimation ...)

The origins and development of financial markets and institutions : from the seventeenth century to the present
A new economic view of American history : from colonial times to 1940Estimation of economies of scale in nineteenth century United States manufacturing
Alternative Names
Atack, J. 1949-

Jeremy Atack economic historian

Jeremy Atack historiador de la economía

Jeremy Atack historiador económicu estauxunidense

English (202)

Dutch (1)

Welsh (1)