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Harvard. Final Examination Questions. Economics Courses, 1912-13



For the academic years 1912-13 through 1915-16 there are complete (or at least nearly complete) sets of examinations for many departments, including economics available at In this posting we have final examinations for all economics courses but three for the 1912-13 academic year. Since courses are only identified in these collections by number, I have provided the course titles, instructors’ names and course registration figures available in the annual Harvard Presidential Report for that academic year.

The three courses for which no final examination questions (perhaps the grade was not even determined by examination) were:

Economics 13. Statistics. Theory, method, and practice. Professor Ripley. (6 Graduates, 1 Senior, 3 Radcliffe: Total 10)

Economics 24. Topics in the Economic History of the Nineteenth Century. Professor Gay. (4 Graduates, 1 Senior: Total 5)

Economics 33 1hf. Tariff Problems in the United States. Professor Taussig. (5 Graduates, 3 Seniors: Total 8)


Economics 1. Principles of Economics
Economics 2a lhf. European Industry and Commerce in the Nineteenth Century
Economics 2b 2hf. Economic and Financial History of the United States
Economics 3. Money, Banking, and Commercial Crises
Economics 4a 1hf. Economics of Transportation
Economics 4b 2hf. Economics of Corporations
Economics 5. Public Finance, including the Theory and Methods of Taxation
Economics 6a lhf. Trade-Unionism and Allied Problems
Economics 6b 2hf. The Labor Movement in Europe
Economics 7. Theories of Distribution and Distributive Justice
Economics 8. Principles of Sociology
Economics 9. Principles of Accounting.
Economics 11. Economic Theory
Economics 12 lhf. Scope and Methods of Economic Investigation
Economics 14. History and Literature of Economics to the year 1848
Economics 16. The History of Modern Socialism
Economics 23. Economic History of Europe to the Middle of the Eighteenth Century
Economics 31. Public Finance
Economics 32 2hf. Economics of Agriculture, with special reference to American conditions



Economics 1. Principles of Economics.

Professor Taussig and Dr. E. E. Day, assisted by Messrs. Heilman, Jones, Burbank, Crosgrave, and Eldred.
1 Graduate, 21 Seniors, 93 Juniors, 307 Sophomores, 21 Freshmen, 38 Other. Total 481.


[p. 38-39]


  1. To what extent and in what manner do the following contribute to the formation of capital: (a) a government loan; (b) the stock exchange; (c) commercial banks; (d) the corporate form of business organization?
  1. Explain “margin of cultivation.” Distinguish between the intensive margin of cultivation and the extensive margin of cultivation. What is the relation between (a) the margin of cultivation in agriculture and the price of a bushel of wheat; (b) the margin in gold mining and the value of an ounce of gold?
  1. Assume that a monopoly produces a commodity under conditions of constant cost. What determines the extent to which the monopoly price will be above the price which competition, if existent, would establish? Illustrate by diagram.
  1. The rentals from a New York office building amount to $50,000 a year. The building is worth $200,000. To provide for insurance, depreciation and such fixed items, $10,000 is expended annually. The current rate of interest upon investments of equal security is 5%. What is the value of the land?
  1. What is “dumping “? What induces it? To what extent is it dependent upon (a) monopoly conditions; (b) tariff barriers?
  1. Explain briefly why (a) the rates of wages are generally higher in the United States than in Germany; (b) higher for plumbers than for unskilled laborers; (c) for domestic servants than for women employed in shops and factories. Suppose a socialist community apportioning wages on the basis of equality of sacrifice: would these differences persist?
  1. How are the wages and the number employed within a particular industry affected, immediately and ultimately, by the invention of labor-saving devices in that industry?
  1. Explain: (a) railroad rebates; (b) over-capitalization; (c) public service industries; (d) “reasonable restraint of trade”; (e) stoppage at the source.




Economics 2a lhf. European Industry and Commerce in the Nineteenth Century.
Professor Gay, assisted by Dr. M. T. Copeland.
16 Graduates, 14 Seniors, 44 Juniors, 17 Sophomores, 3 Freshmen, 5 Other. Total 99.


[p. 39-40]


  1. “The effect of Peel’s measures of 1842-1845 was to demonstrate how much the trade and industry of the country might be encouraged by the readjustment of fiscal burdens.” Explain.
    Is a similar readjustment needed in England at the present time? Why or why not?
  1. (a) How was the capital for the construction of railroads prior to 1870 obtained in the different European countries? Why?
    (b) Why was the railroad policy of Prussia modified after 1870? With what results?
  1. Compare the organization of the wool manufacturing industries in England, Germany, and France at the present time, explaining to what the differences are due. How far are these differences typical?
  1. Compare the English and Belgian methods of relieving the recent agricultural depression.
  1. In which industries have Kartells been formed in Germany? Why? Compare with the movement for combination in England.
  1. Explain the statement in regard to English agriculture that “after the middle of the eighteenth century the two revolutions, the industrial and the agricultural, which are indeed only manifestations of the same scientific and commercial spirit, go hand in hand and supplement one another.” Does this statement apply also to Germany? Why or why not?
  1. Discuss briefly —

(a) English ” Friendly Societies.”
(b) Pitt’s Sinking Fund.
(c) Zollverein.
(d) French shipping subsidies.
(e) Charter and line traffic.




Economics 2b 2hf. Economic and Financial History of the United States.
Professor Gay, assisted by Dr. M. T. Copeland.
18 Graduates, 22 Seniors, 50 Juniors, 27 Sophomores, 1 Freshman, 6 Other. Total 124.



[p. 40-1]


  1. “The most important feature of life in a newly settled community is its commercial connection with the rest of the world.” Why? How is this illustrated (a) by the history of the American colonies and (b) by the history of the West?
  1. What were the causes for the decline of the American merchant marine? What attempts have been made to assist its recovery? With what results?
  1. Compare in its main features the economic history of the decade 1830-40 with that of the decade 1880-90.
  1. Compare the conditions which stimulated industrial combinations in the ’90’s with those which resulted in railroad combinations in the ’70’s.
  1. Within the last twelve months the New England Cotton Yarn Company, the U. S. Finishing Company, and the International Cotton Mills Corporation have each undergone reorganization. What was the earlier history of these companies and how far did that history foreshadow the necessity for such reorganizations?
  1. If you were to establish a mill for manufacturing silk goods at the present time, how would the conditions which you would meet in that industry differ from those which confronted a silk manufacturer forty or forty-five years ago? Why have these changes taken place? How far are they typical of the general industrial development of the United States during this period?
  1. (a) Comment on the following statement, which was made in a speech in Congress in 1846. “It is a protective tariff which gives to American industry the only effectual guaranty that it will not be brought down to a level with the degraded labor of Europe. It furnishes the only security that our standard of wages is not to be measured by the cost of production in those countries where the life of the laborer is but an incessant struggle for bread.”
    (b) Judging from the history of the years 1893-1900, as well as from present conditions, is the present year more or less opportune than 1909 for a downward revision of the tariff? Why?




Economics 3. Money, Banking, and Commercial Crises.
Dr. E. E. Day, assisted by Messrs. Ise and F. E. Richter.
3 Graduates, 31 Seniors, 67 Juniors, 16 Sophomores, 1 Freshman, 1 Other. Total 119.


[p. 41-42]


  1. What factors favored the monetary rehabilitation of silver in the United States during the 70’s? Which of these factors are still operative? Explain the disappearance of the others.
  1. What banking abuses were most common in the United States early in the nineteenth century? When and how, if at all, have these since been eliminated?
  1. What is the relation between the Bank of England rate and the London market rate of discount when (a) funds are abundant; (b) funds are relatively scarce? In what ways does varying the Bank rate accomplish the protection of the English banking reserves?
  1. What is meant by a free gold market? Are the following such: London; Paris; Berlin; New York? In each case, why or why not?
  1. How will the rate of sterling exchange in New York be affected by: (a) a crop failure in the United States; (b) hoarding of specie in Europe; (c) a slump on the New York Stock Exchange; (d) a banking panic in this country?
  1. “The call-loan market . . . furnishes to the banks of the country under the present organization of banking, their only means of mobilizing their reserves, of liquifying their assets, and of securing flexibility in their lending power.” Explain and criticize. How, if at all, should this feature of our system be changed?
  1. In the equation of exchange given by Professor Fisher, what is the relation of M, M’, V, and T (a) during a period of rising prices; (b) during a period of settled prices?
  1. Describe the crisis of 1873 with reference to: (a) its general antecedents; (b) its more important causes in the United States; (c) its final outbreak in this country; (d) the territorial extent of the reaction; (e) the severity and duration of the subsequent depression.




Economics 4a 1hf. Economics of Transportation.
Professor Ripley, assisted by Mr. Crosgrave.
6 Graduates, 2 G.B., 36 Seniors, 85 Juniors, 24 Sophomores, 3 Other. Total 156.


[p. 42-3]


  1. Compare the lease with stock ownership as a means of combination, stating the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  1. Show how recent interpretation of the Federal law may conceivably affect the status of railway traffic agreements.
  1. State very briefly the point raised in the following cases: —

(a) Portland Gateway.
(b) Illinois Central car supply.
(c) Alabama Midland (Troy).
(d) Orange Routing.

  1. Have any of the above points been since corrected by legislation; if so in what manner?
  1. Give reasons for the following differences in net capitalization per mile of line:

Union Pacific $65,000         Reading $170,000
Pennsylvania    86,000        Erie            170,000

  1. What particular circumstance materially affects the success of Government ownership and operation:

(a) In Germany?
(b) In Italy?
(c) In Switzerland?

  1. What is the present attitude of the Federal courts toward the proper basis to be used in the determination of reasonable rates?
  1. How effective practically has been the ” Commodity Clause” of the law of 1906?
  1. To whom properly belongs the surplus earnings of a railroad over and above a rate of return requisite to provide an adequate supply of new capital for future development? State your own view, but set forth your reasons fully.





Economics 4b 2hf. Economics of Corporations.
Professor Ripley, assisted by Mr. Crosgrave.
6 Graduates, 20 Seniors, 86 Juniors, 15 Sophomores, 3 Other. Total 130.



[p. 43-4]


  1. Why was the dissolution of the “Tobacco Trust” more difficult than that of the Standard Oil Company? Explain fully.
  1. Indicate certain differences in the eye of the law between monopolization and restraint of trade.
  1. Herewith are two balance sheets of companies A and B respectively. Comment upon them, contrasting one with the other. Which apparently denotes the greater financial stability?
Co. A
Assets Liabilities
Plant $3,500,000 Preferred Stock $5,000,000
Merchandise 1,800,000 Common Stock 15,000,000
Bills Receivable 700,000 Accounts Payable 600,000
Cash 1,400,000
Good-will and Patents 13,200,000
$20,600,000 $20,600,000

Co. B

Assets Liabilities
Factories $15,000,000 Capital Stock $65,000,000
Securities owned 18,000,000 Debentures 15,000,000
Merchandise 20,000,000 Surplus 3,000,001
Accounts Receivable 30,000,000
Franchises and Good-will 1
$83,000,001 $83,000,001


  1. Name, with briefest possible description in each case, and in order of seriousness, at least five distinct forms of unfair competition in trade.
  1. Do all the foregoing forms of unfair competition affect thgeneral public as well as direct competitors? Does this factor apparently influence the attitude of the courts?
  1. What was the essence of the U. S. Steel Bond Conversion plan? What became of it?
  1. Contrast administrative and judicial forms of controlling monopoly, pointing out the merits of each.
  1. Outline the plan of reorganization of the National Cordage Company. Was it typical of industrial reorganizations in general?
  1. What are the three leading objections to the so-called “holding company “?
  1. Outline what most appeals to you as a feasible plan for dealing with the existing trust problem. State concisely in definite propositions covering all points at issue.




Economics 5. Public Finance, including the Theory and Methods of Taxation.
Professor Bullock.
6 Seniors, 14 Juniors, 4 Sophomores, 1 Other. Total 25.


[p. 44]


  1. Explain and discuss critically the methods employed in the taxation of land in Germany, France, Great Britain, Australia, and the United States.
  1. Compare the general property tax with the general income tax, considering both the theory and the practical operation of these taxes.
  1. Compare the French, Prussian, and British systems of direct taxation.
  1. Compare the British system of indirect taxation with those of France and the United States.
  1. Discuss the taxation of mortgages in the United States.
  1. What changes in the taxation of personal property have recently occurred in the United States?
  1. Compare the British, Prussian, and Italian income taxes. .
  1. Outline what you consider a satisfactory theory of the just apportionment of public charges.




Economics 6a lhf. Trade-Unionism and Allied Problems.
Professor Ripley, assisted by Mr. Crosgrave.
3 Graduates, 44 Seniors, 19 Juniors, 4 Sophomores, 2 Other. Total 72.


[p. 45]


Answer the first five briefly

  1. What is sabotage?
  1. What is the ” extended ” closed shop?
  1. What is the principal practical difficulty in the “general strike”?
  1. Is it met by the adoption of any positive policy in France by the “syndicates”?
  1. In the syndicalist programme what is to be the unit in the reorganized state?
  1. Contrast collective bargaining under sanction of the law with its adoption by private arrangement; (a) from the point of view of advantage to the employer; (b) from that of the workman.
  1. What are the four main features of the New Zealand legislation. (Each in a sentence.)
  1. What is the principal demonstrated weakness in the above legislation?
  1. What are three disabilities of the individual workmen in negotiating a wage contract?
  1. Wages for women in domestic service and in manufactures seem out of line with one another. What main difference helps to explain this?
  1. What is the present condition of affairs respecting the closed shop in the United States? Outline the course of events for two decades.
  1. How does the law of conspiracy enter into the decision by courts in labor disputes? How has Great Britain settled it?




Economics 6b 2hf. The Labor Movement in Europe.
Asst. Professor Rappard.
5 Graduates, 12 Seniors, 9 Juniors, 1 Sophomore, 3 Other. Total 30.


[p. 45-6]


Arrange answers in order of questions. Students who wrote theses will omit the first three questions.

  1. Enumerate five of the effects which Engels says the Industrial Revolution had on the manufacturing population of England. What were Engel’s chief sources of information?
  1. How does Sombart distinguish between (a) Rational Socialism (Utopian Socialism and Anarchism) and (b) Historical Socialism?
  1. What effect, according to Marx, does machinery have

(a) Upon real wages?
(b) Upon nominal wages?
(c) Upon “relative surplus-value”?
(d) Upon “absolute surplus-value”?

  1. Why is it customary to mention the English enclosure movement in dealing with the history of labor in Europe in the 19th century?
  1. What were the historical relations between the doctrines of Godwin, Malthus and Darwin?
  1. What was Chartism? Saint-Simonism? Which was more radical? More socialistic? Give reasons.
  1. Write a biography of Marx (300 to 500 words).
  1. Compare the views of Marx and Vaudervelde on ” Capitalist Concentration.”
  1. Give chapter headings of a thesis on “The Socialist Movement in Germany, 1860-1890” in six or more chapters.
  1. Distinguish between (a) Socialism (b) Anarchism (c) Syndicalism.
  1. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs … To every laborer the entire product of his labor … At first sight, these two formulas are absolutely contradictory. We believe, however, that it is possible and necessary to reconcile them and to complete each by the other.” — Vaudewelde.
    How does the author do this? What practical suggestions does he make for arranging distribution in the socialist state?
  1. What difficulties does Skelton think a socialist state would encounter

(a) In administering the government?
(b) In determining what commodities should be produced?
(c) In distributing wealth?




Economics 7. Theories of Distribution and Distributive Justice.
Professor Carver.
3 Graduates, 7 Seniors, 13 Juniors, 1 Sophomore, 1 Other. Total 25.


[p. 47]


  1. Explain and illustrate the principle of marginal utility and its relation to the value of consumers’ goods.
  1. Explain and illustrate the law of variable proportions and its relation to the value of the factors of production.
  1. Discuss the various criteria of justice in the distribution of wealth.
  1. Explain and illustrate exactly what you understand by self-interest.
  1. How would the single tax probably affect the demand for labor? Would its effect probably be stronger on unskilled than on skilled labor? On skilled labor than on business talent?
  1. How do mechanical inventions affect the demand for capital and for different grades of labor?
  1. Describe one communistic society, giving some account of its origin, the causes of its success if it succeeded and of its failure if it failed.
  1. Outline a program for raising the wages of all the lower grades of labor.




Economics 8. Principles of Sociology.
Professor Carver.
10 Graduates, 41 Seniors, 74 Juniors, 18 Sophomores, 4 Other. Total 147.


[p. 47-8]


  1. What, in your opinion, is the ultimate test of progress? Give your reasons.
  1. Compare the views of Buckle and Peschel as to the influence of geographical surroundings on religion.
  1. What is the relation between the institution of the family and the institution of property?
  1. What place has the genius in social progress? Give your own opinion and state the views on this question of authors whom you have read.
  1. Outline the leading forms of waste labor and of waste land, giving briefly the reasons why each form of waste exists at the present time.
  1. Compare the views of Mill and Ross as to the limits of social control.
  1. What, according to Ross, is the relation of resentment to social order?
  1. What are the reasons for the existence of the ballot? How far would these reasons justify the extension of the ballot?




Economics 9. Principles of Accounting.
Asst. Professor Cole, assisted by Mr. Eliot Jones.
7 Graduates, 8 Graduates of Applied Sciences, 62 Graduates of Business School, 147 Seniors, 50 Juniors, 2 Sophomores. Total 276.


[p. 48-50]


Save one hour for the last question. It will count as one-third of the paper.

  1. Show by journal entries what should be debited and what credited for the following transactions:

(a) Granting a discount to a customer, for early payment of a bill, so that, though the amount of the bill was $100, he pays but $95.
(b) Paying a lawyer $50 for trying to collect a bill that proves uncollectible, and writing off the debt ($250) as bad.
(c) Collecting $75 as full payment, including interest to the amount of $17, for a debt previously written off as bad.
(d) Giving a friend whose credit at banks is not very good, because he is a new-comer in town, and for whom, therefore, you do not wish to endorse notes, your own note for $1000, with the understanding that he will discount it at a bank, and taking in exchange your friend’s note (for the same amount and time) which you intend to keep until maturity.
(e) Discounting at a bank your friend’s note mentioned in (d), because you find his credit has improved in the public mind and you need the money. [Discount $7.]
(f) Returning to the manufacturers, as unsatisfactory, goods billed at $500 and bought to be sold at $650.
(g) Delivering goods from the store as part payment of clerks’ wages, and allowing 5% discount to clerks. [Retail price $50, clerks’ price $47.50.]
(h) Issuing a stock dividend of $50,000.
(i) Selling a new $2,000,000 issue of stock for $2,100,000. [Corporation’s books.]

  1. A bond table gives the value of $10,000 of bonds for January 1 as $10,366.27, and for July 1 as $10,323.60. On the latter day you collect $250 interest. What entry shall you make for the interest?
    Assuming that the valuation of the bonds was determined on a 4% basis, how could you prove the correctness of the July 1 valuation if you knew that the valuation for January 1 was correct?
  1. Define and discuss the purpose of the following: —

(a) a machine rate,
(b) a life-insurance reserve,
(c) a national-bank redemption fund,
(d) a stores ledger,
(e) a machine ledger,
(f) a controlling account.

  1. Would expense burden enter into a plan of cost accounting for (a) a department store, (b) a hospital, (c) a college, (d) a gas company? Explain briefly how, or why not, in each case.

Remember in solving problems that time and confusion are often saved by the use of journal entries as guides in determining which accounts are affected.

  1. The balance sheet a year ago was as follows: —
Plant $125,000 Capital Stock $140,000
Accounts Receivable 33,000 Bills Payable 10,000
Merchandise 19,000 Accounts Payable 24,000
Cash 5,000 Surplus 8,000
$182,000 $182,000

An abbreviated tentative income sheet for the year just closing gave the following figures: —

Wages $85,000 Other Expenses $71,000
Materials 54,000 Gross Income 240,000

No items relating to the care of property were included in the “other expenses,” and they are now to be provided for. Such items are found on the debit side of the trial balance as follows:—

Depreciation $5,000 Replacement $4,000
Repairs 8,000 Additions 12,000

Supposing the only changes in the balance sheet are those caused by the items shown above (profit or loss and care of property) and that cash absorbs the net effect of changes not otherwise indicated, show the income sheet and the balance sheet for the new year.

  1. Prepare such a tabular statement or statements as an accountant should give to his employers or clients for a business yielding the following figures on three trial balances (of ledger balances) taken at the times indicated.
Trial balance at the opening of business, Jan. 1, 1912 Trial balance, Dec. 31, 1912, before the books are closed Trial balance at the opening of business, Jan. 1, 1913
Dr. Cr. Dr. Cr. Dr. Cr.
Capital Stock $200,000 $200,000 $200,000
Bills Payable 30,000 40,000 40,000
Accounts Payable 35,000 37,500 37,500
Surplus 7,000 7,000 9,000
Dividends declared 10,000 10,000
Real Estate and Plant $135,000 $137,500 $137,000
Accounts Receivable 88,200 80,200 80,200
Goods in process 17,000 17,000 20,000
Finished Goods 25,000 25,000 23,000
Raw Materials Inventory 15,000 15,000 35,000
Raw Materials 57,000
Wages 7,000 52,000 2,000
Taxes 200 2,300 200
Insurance 1,000 2,200 1,000
General Expenses 7,500
Sales 113,200
Cash 8,000 2,000 2,000
$289,200 $289,200 $397,700 $397,700 $298,700 $298,700

If you give more than one statement, prepare one at a time, and leave the reconciliation between statements until all are complete.




Economics 11. Economic Theory.
Professor Taussig.
20 Graduates, 1 Graduate at Business School, 4 Seniors, 5 Juniors, 1 Other. Total 31.


[p. 50-3]


[Arrange your answers strictly in the order of the questions]

  1. Explain the connection between

(a) the rent of mines;
(b) Carey’s doctrine that the total rent received by land-owners is less than interest on the total investment for improving land;
(c) the earnings of barristers or opera-singers;
(d) the earnings of ” successful ” business men.

  1. “Men are not equal. . . . Those capable of organizing and leading industrial enterprise are in a minority, and are indeed few; hence they can put a price on their services which would be impossible if there were many. Their services are not worth more on this account, but they can get more for them. Because the community needs their services, and cannot perhaps get along without them, they can, if they like, put ” famine prices ” on the commodity (organizing and directing talent) which they have to sell; while, on the other hand, those who have only labor or physical skill, though they are just as necessary, are many, and hence can about as readily be taken advantage of as the others can take advantage.” What have you to say? Can the ” famine prices ” be justified?
  1. (a) “There are, in fact, few no-rent men in actual employment; and the reason for this is clear, since work involves a sacrifice, and it does not pay to incur the sacrifice unless the earnings be a positive quantity. In those times and places in which child labor has been employed, with little regard for the welfare of the victims, labor that was not at the no-rent point, but very near it, has been pressed into service. But, where the sacrifice entailed by labor is, in some way, neutralized by a benefit that work confers, labor which creates literally nothing may sometimes be employed. Lunatics or prisoners may be kept at work, in order that they may secure fresh air and exercise, even though the amount of capital that they use, if it were withdrawn from their hands and turned into marginal capital, would produce as much as it does when it is used by them. In such a case the product imputable to their labor is nil.
    The existence of any no-rent labor enables us to make the rent formula general and to apply it to every concrete agent of production.”
    (b) “The productivity of any capital, whether human or external, will differ with the capital. Men differ in quality, i. e., in productive power, as truly as lands or other instruments differ. Some men have a high degree of earning power and some have not.
    Some men can work twice as fast as others. Some men can do higher grades of work than others. The result is that we find men classified as common manual laborers, skilled manual laborers, common mental workers, superintending workers, and enterprisers.
    Just as we can measure the rent of any land by the difference in productivity between that and the low-rent, or no-rent, land, in exactly the same way we can measure the difference in productivity between men. There is no grade of workmen called the “no-wages men,” but there would be such a grade if it were customary for their employer to pay for their cost of support (as the employer of land pays for its cost), so that only the excess above this cost were to be called wages.”

Compare the two trains of reasoning; give your opinion; and state by what authors the passages were written.

  1. “If the proprietor of superior land were to say, ‘I will take no rent for it,’ this would not make wheat cheaper. The supply would not be changed; for the same quantity would be raised, the marginal amount raised on the no-rent land would be needed and would be bought at the former price, and all other parts of the supply would command the same rate. … It is a striking fact — but one hitherto much neglected — that similar conclusions apply to the product of every other agent ” [capital and labor]. Do similar conclusions apply? Who do you think is the author of this passage?
  1. What three grounds explain, according to Böhm-Bawerk, the preference for present goods over future? Which of them does he conclude to be the most important? State Fisher’s criticism; and give your own opinion on the controverted question.
  1. “In the present condition of industry, most sales are made by men who are producers and merchants by profession. . . .For them, the subjective use value of their own wares is, for the most part, very nearly nil. … In sales by them the limiting effect which, according to our theoretical formula, would be exerted by the valuation of the last seller, practically does not come into play.” — Böhm-Bawerk.
    What is the ” theoretical formula “? and what is the importance of the qualification here stated?
  1. In what sense are the terms “demand” and “increase of demand ” used in the following passages:

(a) “The democratization of society and the aping of the ways of the well-to-do by the lower classes have greatly increased the demand for silk fabrics.”
(b) “The lower price of sugar after 1890, when sugar was admitted free of duty, at once caused an increase of demand.”
(c) “The cheapening of a commodity may mean an increase of demand such that the total sum spent on it will be as great as before, even greater than before.”

  1. Explain the essentials of Veblen’s theory of crises, and state wherein you think it most tenable, wherein least so.




Economics 12 lhf. Scope and Methods of Economic Investigation.
Professor Carver.
2 Graduates, 1 Radcliffe. Total 3.


[p. 53]


  1. Explain verbally, and show by means of an outline, the relation between private and public economics and the main subdivisions of each.
  2. Into what main departments would you subdivide the subject of economics if you were going to write a general text book for college classes. Give your reasons.
  1. What are the characteristic methods of reasoning, methods of collecting information, and methods of exposition in economics? Mention examples, or give illustrations of each. What are the special advantages of each? To what class of problems is each especially adapted?
  1. Comment upon the following: —

“The economist may thus be considered at the outset of his researches as already in possession of those ultimate principles governing the phenomena which form the subject of his study, the discovery of which in the case of physical investigation constitutes for the inquirer his most arduous task; but, on the other hand, he is excluded from the use of experiment.” (Cairnes, pp. 89-90.)

  1. What, according to Warner, are the characteristic methods of determining the causes of poverty? What are the merits and defects of each method? Give illustrations.
  1. Comment upon the statement that “political economy depends more upon reasoning than on observation.” Is this the same as saying that the greatest present need is for sound reasoners rather than for close observers? Would either statement apply to all possible conditions and to all classes of problems?
  1. Discuss Clark’s reasons for describing capital as a sum of money.




Economics 14. History and Literature of Economics to the year 1848.
Professor Bullock.
7 Graduates. Total 7.


[p. 54]


  1. What significant analyses of economic structure and functions were made by the mercantilists?
  1. Discuss the development of economic opinions as reflected in the writings of Hales, Bodin, Montchrétien, Mun, Petty, Boisguilbert, Cantillon, Vanderlint, and Hume.
  1. Explain the structure and purpose of the “Wealth of Nations,” and give a brief analysis of the doctrines of the first two books.
  1. Discuss the treatment of the subject of population by Aristotle, the Schoolmen, Cantillon, Smith, and Malthus.
  1. At what points did the economic theories of Ricardo differ from those of Adam Smith?




Economics 16. The History of Modern Socialism.
Asst. Professor Rappard.
4 Graduates Total 4.


[p. 54-5]


  1. Fill out the blanks in the following table according to the Marxian phraseology and theory.
Con-stant capital Vari-able capital Rate of surplus value Capital con-sumed Indi-vidual rate of profit Value of commo-dities pro-duced Cost price of commodities prod-uced Average rate of profit Price of com-modities Deviation of price from value
90 10 50% 20
80 20 50% 10
70 30 50%
  1. “The theory of value which Marx presents is a variation of the familiar labor-value doctrine.” Discuss.
  1. State the Marxian theory of rent.
  1. What is meant by the Bernstein-Kautsky controversy? State three of the principal points involved, with the arguments advanced on both sides.
  1. What, according to Skelton, are the distinctive features of Utopianism? How does Shelton classify the Utopian doctrines?
    What, according to Skelton, are the two “quite distinct interpretations” of which the Marxian materialist conception of history is susceptible?
  1. “In spite of himself, Marx was the last of the classical economists.” How does Shelton justify this assertion?
  1. “Had the third volume of ‘Capital’ appeared at the same time as the first, little would have been heard about ‘exploitation’ from socialist platforms.” Why not, according to Skelton?




Economics 23. Economic History of Europe to the Middle of the Eighteenth Century.
Dr. Gray.
4 Graduates, 1 Radcliffe. Total 5.


[p. 55]


  1. Discuss the origin and early expansion of capital in Italy, the Low Countries, Germany and England. (One hour.)
  1. Compare the development of copyhold in England with that of Meierrecht in Germany. In what way were agrarian conditions in southwestern Germany different from conditions in the north-west at the beginning of the sixteenth century.
  1. Trace the growth of the mercantile system in England. Has Cunningham’s treatment any bias? Explain.
  1. Describe fully four of the following documents: —

Notularium Johannis Scribae.
An English Pipe Roll.
Royal licenses to export English wool in 1273.
De institutis Lundonie.
Chrysobullium Alexii I.




Economics 31. Public Finance.
Professor Bullock.
6 Graduates, 1 Junior. Total 7.


[p. 55-6]


  1. How far does the present British system of taxation conform to the maxims of Adam Smith?
  1. How far does the present French system of taxation conform to Smith’s maxims?
  1. How far does the present Prussian system of taxation conform to Smith’s maxims?
  1. How far would the single tax on land values conform to Smith’s maxims?
  1. Compare the general property tax in Switzerland with the same tax in the United States.
  1. What changes in the general property tax have occurred in the United States in recent years?
  1. Discuss fully the opinions of Leroy-Beaulieu or Eheberg concerning the income tax.
  1. Discuss fully the opinions of Leroy-Beaulieu or Eheberg concerning the inheritance tax.



Economics 32 2hf. Economics of Agriculture, with special reference to American conditions.
Professor Carver.
8 Graduates, 2 Seniors, 1 Junior. Total 11.


[p. 56]


  1. What are some of the larger characteristics which distinguish rural from urban life?
  1. Where would you draw the line between large scale and medium scale, and between medium scale and small scale farming, and what are the principal advantages and disadvantages of each?
  1. Exactly what is the distinction between intensive and extensive farming, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  1. To what system of culture does the horse as a draft animal belong, and what are some of the characteristics of that system?
  1. Where do we find the larger percentage of tenancy in this country, where land is highly productive or where its productivity is low? How would you explain the situation?
  1. Give your ideas as to the function of the middle-man, and to what extent and how that function may be performed by the farmers themselves.
  1. What are the advantages of diversified farming as compared with specialized farming?
  1. Give your ideas as to how country life may be made more attractive to men and women of education and culture.



Harvard University Examinations. Papers set for final examinations in history, history of science, government, economics, philosophy, social ethics, education, fine arts, music in Harvard College. June, 1913. Cambridge, MA.

Harvard University. Reports of the President and the Treasurer of Harvard College, 1912-13, pp. 57-58.



Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier