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Transport Costs and the Geography of Arbitrage in Eighteenth-Century China

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  • Carol H. Shiue

Abstract

Trade has been considered a condition for growth and development, a view that might have merits in explaining the rise of the Western world. I use a new data set from archival sources of eighteenth-century China to revisit this question. This analysis suggests previous studies of market integration, which attribute much growth to a reduction in transport costs, have overestimated these effects. I find the overall level of market integration in China was higher than previously thought, and, intertemporal effects are important substitutes for trade. Both factors reduce the importance of trade as a unique explanation for subsequent growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol H. Shiue, 2002. "Transport Costs and the Geography of Arbitrage in Eighteenth-Century China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1406-1419, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:5:p:1406-1419
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802762024566
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    1. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    2. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, October.
    3. Gallup, John L. & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Mellinger, Andrew, "undated". "Geography and Economic Development," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics geodata, Boston College Department of Economics.
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