Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Did Vasco da Gama Matter for European Markets? Testing Frederick Lane's Hypotheses Fifty Years Later

Contents:

Author Info

  • O'Rourke, Kevin H
  • Williamson, Jeffrey G

Abstract

In his seminal publications between the 1930s and 1960s, Frederick Lane offered three hypotheses regarding the impact of the Voyages of Discovery that have guided debate ever since. First, pepper and other spice prices did not rise in European markets in the century before the 1490s, and thus could not have ‘pulled in’ the oceanic explorations by their rising scarcity. Second, Portuguese circumnavigation of Africa did not lower European spice prices across the 16th century, implying that the discovery of the Cape route had no permanent effect on Euro-Asian market integration. Third, 15th century Venetian spice markets were already well integrated with those in Iberia and northern Europe, implying that Portugal could not have had an intra-European market integrating influence in the 16th century. Lane developed these influential hypotheses by relying heavily on nominal spice prices from Venice and the Levant. This paper revisits Lane’s hypotheses by using instead relative spice prices, that is, accounting for inflation. It also draws on evidence from Iberia and northern Europe. In addition, it explores European market integration before and after 1503, the year when da Gama returned from his financially successful second voyage. Lane’s three hypotheses are rejected: the impact of the Portuguese was profound on all fronts. We conclude by using a simple model of monopoly and oligopoly to decompose the sources of the Cape route’s impact on European markets.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP5418.asp
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5418.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5418

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information:
Email:

Related research

Keywords: market integration; spice trade; Voyages of Discovery;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Lane, Frederic C., 1963. "Recent Studies on the Economic History of Venice," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(03), pages 312-334, September.
  2. Douglas A. Irwin, 1990. "Mercantilism as strategic trade policy: the Anglo-Dutch rivalry for the East India trade," International Finance Discussion Papers 392, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Lane, Frederic C., 1968. "Pepper Prices Before Da Gama," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 590-597, December.
  4. Carol H. Shiue & Wolfgang Keller, 2004. "Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 10778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "After Columbus: Explaining Europe'S Overseas Trade Boom, 1500 1800," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 417-456, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. O'Rourke K. and Williamson J. (2006) Did Vasco da Gama matter for European markets?
    by Ben in Economic History Blog on 2008-08-10 14:56:00

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5418. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.