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Expanding the Division of Labour: Trade Costs and Supply Chains in the Global Economy

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  • Richard Pomfret
  • Richard Pomfret

Abstract

type="main"> In the pre-1914 globalisation reduction in trade costs allowed finer specialisation. The quantitative evidence is strong for some components of trade costs, but less so for aggregate trade costs. In the second globalisation, international supply chains have become an important element of the global economy, and we have better data to examine the links between trade costs and supply chains. After a brief review of the standard account of the evolution of supply chains, the article examines the quantitative evidence; regional value chains (RVCs) are especially strong, but the origins and nature of RVCs differ in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The paper then presents evidence on trade costs, focusing on the years since 1990 when both data and computing facilities became more comprehensive, and analyses the relationship between trade costs and supply chains.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Pomfret & Richard Pomfret, 2014. "Expanding the Division of Labour: Trade Costs and Supply Chains in the Global Economy," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 54(3), pages 220-241, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ozechr:v:54:y:2014:i:3:p:220-241
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