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Hegemony and the structure of international trade reassessed: a view from Arabia


  • Lawson, Fred H.


Mercantilist explanations for the development of international trading orders have assumed that changes in peripheral areas during the 19th century corresponded with developments among the largest and most advanced countries of the period. Relatively free trade, however, was not the rule at three important ports along the Arabian coast when Great Britain was in a hegemonic position in the area. Rather, British predominance in this part of the world was generally associated with increasing closure in commercial affairs at these three ports. This finding throws doubt on both the collective goods logic and the notions of “the imperialism of free trade” that have been appropriated by writers such as Gilpin, Kindleberger, Krasner, and Keohane. Two alternative ways of explaining the pattern of trading relations at these three ports are sketched, and three ways of amending the mercantilist position to account for these data are suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawson, Fred H., 1983. "Hegemony and the structure of international trade reassessed: a view from Arabia," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(02), pages 317-337, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:37:y:1983:i:02:p:317-337_03

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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "Hegemonic Stability Theories of the International Monetary System," NBER Working Papers 2193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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