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The sustainability of empire in a global perspective: The role of international trade patterns

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  • Bonfatti, Roberto

Abstract

I construct a model in which a colony trades raw materials for manufactures with the mother country and the rest of the world, and can rebel at the cost of some trade disruption with the mother country. Decolonisation is more likely when the rest of the world is more abundant in manufactures, or scarcer in raw materials: this is because trade policy in the rest of the world is more favourable to a rebel colony, while trade policy within the empire is more restrictive. I use my results to explain the timing of the American Revolution, and the Latin American Revolutionary Wars. I discuss some important implications for the history of colonialism.

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  • Bonfatti, Roberto, 2017. "The sustainability of empire in a global perspective: The role of international trade patterns," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 137-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:137-156
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2017.06.002
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    2. Roberto Bonfatti & Björn Brey, 2020. "Trade Disruption, Industrialisation, and the Setting Sun of British Colonial Rule in India," CESifo Working Paper Series 8461, CESifo.
    3. Ben Li & Penglong Zhang, 2016. "International Geopolitics," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 909, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 06 Feb 2017.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colonial trade; Rise and fall of empires; Economic legacy of colonialism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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