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Comparative Advantage in UK Manufacturing Trade, 1910-1935


  • Crafts, N F R
  • Thomas, Mark


This paper uses a maintained hypothesis of comparative advantage based on relative factor endowments to investigate UK manufacturing trade prior to World War II. The results from several independent tests indicate that Britain exported goods intensive in the use of unskilled labour and had a comparative disadvantage in goods intensive in the use of human capital right up to the mid 1930s. This is consistent with the views of contemporaries but somewhat at odds with recent optimistic assessments of structural change in pre-war Britain.
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Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, N F R & Thomas, Mark, 1986. "Comparative Advantage in UK Manufacturing Trade, 1910-1935," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 629-645, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:96:y:1986:i:383:p:629-45

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lindert, Peter H., 1983. "English living standards, population growth, and Wrigley-Schofield," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 131-155, April.
    2. Olney, Martha L., 1983. "Fertility and the Standard of Living in Early Modern England: in Consideration of Wrigley and Schofield," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 71-77, March.
    3. Costabile, Lilia & Rowthorn, Bob, 1985. "Malthus's Theory of Wages and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 418-437, June.
    4. Loschky, David J. & Krier, Donald F., 1969. "Income and Family Size in Three Eighteenth-Century Lancashire Parishes: A Reconstitution Study," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 429-448, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1143-1179.
    2. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson & T. J. Hatton, 1993. "Mass migration, commodity market integration and real wage convergence : the late nineteenth century Atlantic economy," Working Papers 199325, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Gary R. Saxonhouse, 1993. "Economic Growth and Trade Relations: Japanese Performance in Long-Term Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Trade and Protectionism, NBER-EASE Volume 2, pages 149-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Crafts, N.F.R. & Leybourne, S.J. & Mills, T.C., 1988. "Economic Growth In Nineteeth Century Britain: Comparisons With Europe In The Context Of Gerschenkron'S Hypotheses," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 308, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Keld Laursen, 2015. "Revealed comparative advantage and the alternatives as measures of international specialization," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 99-115, June.
    6. Harry P. Bowen & Leo Sveikauskas, 1992. "Judging Factor Abundance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 599-620.
    7. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 1998. "Comparing British and American Economic and Industrial Performance 1860-1993: A Time Series Perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 171-195, April.
    8. Irwin, Douglas A., 1995. "The lion's share: Britain's export performance revisited, 1899-1929," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 97-109, March.

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