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Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

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    (Harvard University)

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    Abstract

    Today's wide economic gap between the postindustrial countries of the West and the poorer countries of the third world is not new. Fifty years ago, the world economic order--two hundred years in the making--was already characterized by a vast difference in per capita income between rich and poor countries and by the fact that poor countries exported commodities (agricultural or mineral products) while rich countries exported manufactured products. In Trade and Poverty, leading economic historian Jeffrey G. Williamson traces the great divergence between the third world and the West to this nexus of trade, commodity specialization, and poverty. The world rapidly became global between the early nineteenth century and World War I, and the global trade boom occurred simultaneously with rising economic divergence between industrial and nonindustrial countries. Analyzing the role of specialization, de-industrialization, and commodity price volatility with econometrics and case studies of India, Ottoman Turkey, and Mexico, Williamson demonstrates why the close correlation between trade and poverty emerged. Globalization and the great divergence were causally related, and thus the rise of globalization over the past two centuries helps account for the income gap between rich and poor countries today.

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262015153 and published in 2011.

    Volume: 1
    Edition: 1
    ISBN: 0-262-01515-3
    Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262015153

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    Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

    Related research

    Keywords: economic history; globalization; industrialization;

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    Cited by:
    1. Sambit Bhattacharyya & Jeffrey Williamson, 2013. "Distributional Impact of Commodity Price Shocks: Australia over a Century," CEH Discussion Papers 019, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    2. Michael Kopsidis, 2012. "Peasant Agriculture and Economic Growth: The Case of Southeast Europe c. 1870-1940 reinterpreted," Working Papers 0028, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Pascali, Luigi, 2014. "The Wind of Change: Maritime Technology, Trade and Economic Development," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1049, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Loren Brandt & Debin Ma & Thomas G. Rawski, 2012. "From Divergence to Convergence: Re-evaluating the History Behind China's Economic Boom," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd11-217, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Clovis Freire, . "Building Productive Capacities: Challenges and Opportunities for Least Developed Countries," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/12/02, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    6. Vicente Pinilla & Gema Aparicio, 2014. "Navigating in Troubled Waters: South American Exports of Food and Agricultural Products in the World Market, 1900-1938," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1406, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    7. Clovis Freire & Aynul Hasan & M. Hussain Malik, . "High Food Prices in Asia-Pacific: Policy Initiatives in view of Supply Uncertainty and Price Volatility," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/12/01, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    8. Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2014. "American Colonial Incomes, 1650-1774," NBER Working Papers 19861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Luigi Pascali, 2014. "The Wind of Change: Maritime Technology, Trade and Economic Development," Working Papers 764, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    10. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen & Nicolai Kaarsen & Asger Moll Wingender, 2012. "Irrigation and Autocracy," Discussion Papers 12-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    11. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen & Nicolai Kaarsen & Asger Moll Wingender, 2013. "The Timing of Industrialization across Countries," Discussion Papers 13-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    12. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2010. "When, Where, and Why? Early Industrialization in the Poor Periphery 1870-1940," NBER Working Papers 16344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2011. "Industrial Catching Up in the Poor Periphery 1870-1975," CEPR Discussion Papers 8335, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Szirmai, Adam, 2013. "Institutions and economic growth: Summary and synthesis," MERIT Working Papers 070, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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