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First globalization: Why did France miss the boat?

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  • Stéphane BECUWE
  • Bertrand BLANCHETON
  • Léo CHARLES

Abstract

Starting from Bairoch’s observation of declining French foreign trade, especially in emerging markets during the first globalization (1880-1914), this article endeavours to identify the sources for the failure to exploit the opportunities afforded by global economic growth after 1870. For this purpose a comprehensive dataset of French imports and exports of unparalleled size was assembled to investigate the changes these underwent both in geographical and product distribution over a period of 64 years. Applying standard tests of trade flow concentration, we find that France’s trade structure reflected its early intra-industry specialization which implied increasing reliance on ‘proximity’ markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée in its series Cahiers du GREThA with number 2013-17.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2013-17

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Keywords: International trade; Intra-Industry trade; 1st globalization; Specialization; France;

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  1. Markus Lampe, 2010. "Explaining Nineteenth-Century Bilateralism: Economic and Political Determinants of the Cobden-Chevalier Network," CQE Working Papers 1410, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
  2. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  3. J-C.Asselain & B.Blancheton, 2005. "Dynamique de l'ouverture internationale. Paradoxes, enjeux, éléments d'interprétation à partir du cas de la France," Economies et Sociétés (Serie 'Histoire Economique Quantitative'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), issue 32, pages 49-179, January.
  4. Jacks, David S; Meissner, Christopher; Novy, Dennis, 2010. "Trade Booms, Trade Busts and Trade Costs," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 33, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  5. Weiller, Jean Sylvain, 1971. "Long-run Tendencies in Foreign Trade: With a Statistical Study of French Trade Structure 1871–1939," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 804-821, December.
  6. Béatrice Dedinger, 2012. "The Franco-German trade puzzle: an analysis of the economic consequences of the Franco-Prussian war," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(3), pages 1029-1054, 08.
  7. Markus Lampe, 2009. "Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade – Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, (1860-1875)," CQE Working Papers 0209, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
  8. Tena-Junguito, Antonio, 2010. "Bairoch revisited: tariff structure and growth in the late nineteenth century," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 111-143, April.
  9. Falvey, Rodney E., 1981. "Commercial policy and intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 495-511, November.
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