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The Welfare Cost of Autarky: Evidence from the Jeffersonian Trade Embargo, 1807-09

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  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

The United States came close to complete autarky in 1808 as a result of a self-imposed embargo on international shipping from December 1807 to March 1809. Monthly prices of exported and imported goods reveal the embargo's striking effect on commodity markets and allow a calculation of its welfare effects. A simple general-equilibrium calculation suggests that the embargo cost about 5 percent of America's 1807 GNP, at a time when the trade share was about 13 percent (domestic exports and shipping earnings). The welfare cost was lower than the trade share because the embargo did not completely eliminate trade and because domestic producers successfully shifted production toward previously imported manufactured goods. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (09)
Pages: 631-645

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:13:y:2005:i:4:p:631-645

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0965-7576

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Cited by:
  1. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 800-813, August.
  2. Assaf Zimring, 2013. "Gains from Trade: Lessons from the Gaza Blockade 2007-2010," Discussion Papers 12-024, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

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