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Wealth bias in the first global capital market boom, 1870-1913

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  • Michael A. Clemens
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

Why do rich countries receive the lion's share of international investment flows? Although this "wealth bias" is strong today, it was even stronger during the first global capital market boom before 1913. Very little of British capital exports went to poor countries, whether colonies or not. This paper constructs panel data for 34 countries that as a group received 92% of British capital. It concludes that international capital market failure had only second-order effects on the geographical distribution of British capital. The three local fundamentals that mattered most were schooling, natural resources and demography. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Wealth bias in the first global capital market boom, 1870-1913," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 304-337, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:495:p:304-337
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Bignon & Rui Esteves & Alfonso Herranz-Loncán, 2015. "Big push or big grab? Railways, government activism, and export growth in Latin America, 1865–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(4), pages 1277-1305, November.
    2. Kevin H. O’Rourke, 2012. "From Empire to Europe: Britain in the World Economy," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _106, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. Moritz Schularick, 2006. "A tale of two 'globalizations': capital flows from rich to poor in two eras of global finance," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 339-354.
    4. Hauner, Thomas & Milanovic, Branko & Naidu, Suresh, 2017. "Inequality, Foreign Investment, and Imperialism," MPRA Paper 83068, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Keskinsoy, Bilal, 2017. "Lucas Paradox in The Long Run," MPRA Paper 78126, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alquist, Ron & Chabot, Benjamin, 2011. "Did gold-standard adherence reduce sovereign capital costs?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 262-272.
    7. Liu, Dan & Meissner, Christopher M., 2015. "Market potential and the rise of US productivity leadership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 72-87.
    8. Masaki Nakabayashi, 2014. "Special Issue: Issues in Asia. Guest Editor: Laixun Zhao," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 254-271, May.
    9. Jacks, David S. & Meissner, Christopher M. & Novy, Dennis, 2010. "Trade costs in the first wave of globalization," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 127-141, April.
    10. Gregg Huff, 2007. "Globalization, Natural Resources and Foreign Investment: A View from the Resource-Rich Tropics," Working Papers 2007_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    11. Moritz Schularick & Thomas Steger, 2006. "Does Financial Integration Spur Economic Growth? New Evidence from the First Era of Financial Globalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 1691, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Guillaume Daudin & Matthias Morys & Kevin H. O'rourke, 2008. "Europe and Globalization, 1870-1914," Sciences Po publications 2008-17, Sciences Po.
    13. Dan Liu & Christopher M. Meissner, 2013. "Market Potential and the Rise of US Productivity Leadership," NBER Working Papers 18819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Mika Nieminen, 2017. "Patterns of international capital flows and their implications for developing countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 171, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher M. Meissner, 2007. "Financial Crises, 1880-1913: The Role of Foreign Currency Debt," NBER Chapters,in: The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, pages 139-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Accominotti, Olivier & Flandreau, Marc & Rezzik, Riad & Zumer, Frédéric, 2008. "Black Man’s Burden: Measured Philanthropy in the British Empire, 1880-1913," CEPR Discussion Papers 6811, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Marc Flandreau, 2005. "Home Biases, 19th Century Style," Sciences Po publications n°5398, Sciences Po.
    18. Bordo, Michael D. & Meissner, Christopher M. & Stuckler, David, 2010. "Foreign currency debt, financial crises and economic growth: A long-run view," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 642-665, June.
    19. Franck, Raphaël & Johnson, Noel D. & Nye, John V.C., 2014. "From internal taxes to national regulation: Evidence from a French wine tax reform at the turn of the twentieth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 77-93.
    20. Laura Alfaro & Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Vadym Volosovych, 2008. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries? An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 347-368, May.
    21. Meissner, Christopher M., 2014. "Growth from Globalization? A View from the Very Long Run," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 1033-1069 Elsevier.
    22. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6145 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Kris James Mitchener & Marc Weidenmier, 2008. "Trade and Empire," NBER Working Papers 13765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Schularick, Moritz & Steger, Thomas M., 2008. "The Lucas Paradox and the quality of institutions: then and now," Discussion Papers 2008/3, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

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