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U.S. Foreign Trade and the Balance of Payments, 1800-1913

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  • Robert E. Lipsey

Abstract

This paper reviews the main developments in U.S. trade and the balance of payments from the first years of the 19th century to the first decade of the 20th. American export trade was dominated by agricultural and other resource products long after the majority of the labor force had shifted out of agriculture. The shift out of agriculture was more rapid among the major trading partners of the United States because the American land area increased in the first half of the nineteenth century and agricultural land increased throughout the century. The rise in agricultural land area and a rapid decline in transport cost increased the supply of U.S. agricultural products to Europe and further displaced European agriculture and encouraged migration from Europe. The existence of the large world market, relatively open to the products of American comparative advantage and with a high price elasticity of demand for American exports, encouraged the expansion of U.S. land, agriculture, capital inflows, immigration, and the western migration of population.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4710.

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Date of creation: Apr 1994
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Publication status: published as Engerman, Stanley and Robert Gallman (eds.) Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol II. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4710

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  1. Bjork, Gordon C., 1964. "The Weaning of the American Economy: Independence, Market Changes, and Economic Development," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 541-560, December.
  2. David, Paul A., 1967. "The Growth of Real Product in the United States Before 1840: New Evidence, Controlled Conjectures," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 151-197, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Jaime Marquez, 1994. "The constancy of illusions or the illusion of constancies: income and price elasticities for U.S. imports, 1890-1992," International Finance Discussion Papers 475, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Vesselin Hadjiev, 2001. "Econometric Evaluation of the Elasticity of the Foreign Trade through Bi-Spectral Analysis," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 150-167.
  3. Jaime Marquez, 1995. "A century of trade elasticities for Canada, Japan, and the United States," International Finance Discussion Papers 531, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Huw McKay, 2008. "Metal Intensity in Comparative Historical Perspective: China, North Asia, the United States & the Kuznets Curve," GDSC Working Papers 006, Institute of Global Dynamic Systems.

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