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Trade, Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Colonial Legacy: The Case of France and its Former Colonies (1962–2015)

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  • Infante-Amate, Juan
  • Krausmann, Fridolin

Abstract

The role of trade in global environmental change is receiving increasing attention and there is a lively debate about Ecologically Unequal Exchange (EUE). Little is known, however, about the role of colonial legacy for the evolution of physical trade patterns. This study provides empirical evidence on the basis of a systematic evaluation of global trade data. We quantify, in physical and monetary terms, the development of trade relations between France, its former colonies and the rest the world from the immediate post-colonial period until 2015. We use a set of physical trade indicators including physical trade balance and terms of trade to analyse differences in trade patterns and EUE. The results indicate that colonial ties were very strong in the 1960s, but thereafter quickly diminished. We find strong evidence for EUE between France and its former colonies in the post-colonial period and that the colonial factor explains EUE between centre and peripheries better than income differences until the 1970s. In recent decades colonial legacy increasingly vanished. Our findings corroborate that socio-political factors, and in particular colonial legacy, play an important role for EUE relations and that they deserve more attention in quantitative empirical research on trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Infante-Amate, Juan & Krausmann, Fridolin, 2019. "Trade, Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Colonial Legacy: The Case of France and its Former Colonies (1962–2015)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 98-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:156:y:2019:i:c:p:98-109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.09.013
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    1. Piñero, Pablo & Pérez-Neira, David & Infante-Amate, Juan & Chas-Amil, María L. & Doldán-García, Xoán R., 2020. "Unequal raw material exchange between and within countries: Galicia (NW Spain) as a core-periphery economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C).

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