After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800
AbstractThis paper documents the size and timing of the world inter-continental trade boom following the great voyages in the 1490s of Columbus, da Gama and their followers. Indeed, a trade boom followed over the subsequent three centuries. But what was its cause? The conventional wisdom in the world history literature offers globalization as the answer: it alleges that declining trade barriers, falling transport costs and overseas 'discovery' explains the boom. In contrast, this paper reports the evidence that confirms unambiguously that there was no commodity price convergence between continents, something that would have emerged had globalization been a force that mattered. Thus, the trade boom must have been caused by some combination of European import demand and foreign export supply from Asia and the Americas. Furthermore, the behavior of the relative price of foreign importables in European cities should tell us which mattered most and when. We offer detailed evidence on the relative prices of such importables in European markets over the five centuries1350-1850. We then offer a model which is used to decompose the sources of the trade boom 1500-1800.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8186.
Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Note: DAE ITI
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- K. H. O'Rourke & J. G. Williamson, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," CEG Working Papers 20014, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
- O'Rourke, Kevin H & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 2809, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- K. H. O'Rourke & J. G. Williamson, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," Trinity Economics Papers 20016, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
- F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
- N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.