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Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade: Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, 1860-1875

  • Lampe, Markus

This study contributes to a revised picture of nineteenth-century bilateralism. Employing a new disaggregated dataset, it argues that bilateral treaties did not implement general free trade, but instead reduced tariffs unevenly through commodity-specific preferences, especially favoring manufactured goods. Gravity model estimates show that specific liberalizations translated into systematic increases in exports of corresponding items, but not overall trade. Exporters of countries whose governments used bilateralism strategically to bring down partner tariffs benefitted most. Hence, the network in form and outcome is more properly identified with reciprocal liberalization practiced by the French than with British free trade ideology.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
Pages: 1012-1040

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:69:y:2009:i:04:p:1012-1040_00
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