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Globalization revisited: Market integration and the wheat trade between North America and Britain from the eighteenth century

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  • Sharp, Paul
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

We take up again the famous case of the trade in wheat between the United States and the United Kingdom. This is often used to illustrate the so-called first era of globalization at the end of the nineteenth century. This study, however, finds evidence of transatlantic commodity market integration already during the eighteenth century. Using price data for wheat in America and Britain, our findings support both that price differentials were quite small for many years, and that prices adjusted to the law-of-one-price equilibrium. This process was, however, continuously being interrupted by ‘exogenous’ events, such as trade policy, war and politics. In particular, the French and Napoleonic wars and the subsequent high levels of protection in the UK meant that markets were almost always disintegrated until the repeal of the British Corn Laws in 1846.

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  • Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2013. "Globalization revisited: Market integration and the wheat trade between North America and Britain from the eighteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 88-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:88-98
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.08.002
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    7. Chilosi, David & Federico, Giovanni, 2015. "Early globalizations: The integration of Asia in the world economy, 1800–1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-18.
    8. Giovanni Federico & Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2017. "A tale of two globalizations: gains from trade and openness 1800–2010," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(3), pages 601-626, August.
    9. Alexander Pütz & Pierre L. Siklos & Christoph Sulewski, 2019. "“Who pays the piper calls the tune” – Networks and transaction costs in commodity markets," CQE Working Papers 8819, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    10. Brunt, Liam & Cannon, Edmund, 2013. "Integration in the English wheat market 1770-1820," CEPR Discussion Papers 9504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Grain invasion; Wheat; Globalization; American colonial trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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