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Technology and Geography in the Second Industrial Revolution: New Evidence from the Margins of Trade

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  • Huberman, Michael
  • Meissner, Christopher M.
  • Oosterlinck, Kim

Abstract

Belle Époque Belgium recorded an unprecedented trade boom. Exploiting a new granular trade dataset, we find that the number of products delivered abroad and destinations serviced more than doubled in less than 40 years. To explain this remarkable achievement, we study the relationship between trade costs and the intensive and extensive margins of trade. The establishment of a foreign diplomatic network that lowered beachhead costs and enabled the entry of new products was an essential fact of the trade boom. Interestingly, the expansion in trade in certain sectors did not translate into faster productivity growth. We offer some explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Huberman, Michael & Meissner, Christopher M. & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2017. "Technology and Geography in the Second Industrial Revolution: New Evidence from the Margins of Trade," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 39-89, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:77:y:2017:i:01:p:39-89_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacopo Timini, 2017. "Currency unions and heterogeneous trade effects: the case of the latin monetary union," Working Papers 1739, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. MEISSNER Christopher & BECUWE Stéphane & BLANCHETON Bertrand, 2015. "France’s international insertion strategy in globalization in long run perspective 1836-1938," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-18, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    3. Alejandro Ayuso-Díaz & Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2019. "Trade in the Shadow of Power: Japanese Industrial Exports in the Interwar years," Working Papers 0153, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Christopher M. Meissner & John P. Tang, 2017. "Upstart Industrialization and Exports, Japan 1880-1910," CEH Discussion Papers 04, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. Varian, Brian, 2018. "The economics of Edwardian imperial preference: what can New Zealand reveal?," Economic History Working Papers 88298, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    6. Jacopo Timini, 2018. "The margins of trade: market entry and sector spillovers, the case of Italy (1862-1913)," Working Papers 1836, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    7. Stephane Becuwe & Bertrand Blancheton & Leo Charles & Matthieu Clement, 2015. "Asymmetric influence of distance on french international trade 1850-1913," EcoMod2015 8552, EcoMod.
    8. Stéphane Becuwe & Bertrand Blancheton & Christopher M. Meissner, 2015. "Stages of Diversification: France, 1836-1938," NBER Working Papers 21777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Patrick Alexander & Ian Keay, 2018. "Responding to the First Era of Globalization: Canadian Trade Policy, 1870–1913," Staff Working Papers 18-42, Bank of Canada.
    10. repec:eee:exehis:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:1-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Eichengreen, Barry & Mehl, Arnaud & Chiţu, Livia, 2019. "Mars or mercury redux: the geopolitics of bilateral trade agreements," Working Paper Series 2246, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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