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Market potential and the rise of US productivity leadership

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  • Liu, Dan
  • Meissner, Christopher M.

Abstract

Today's globalization, driven by lower barriers to trade, has increased market potential for many nations and led to gains in GDP per capita. We test whether this was true in the first wave of globalization by constructing market potential measures for a sample of 27 countries in 1900 and 1910 based on a general equilibrium model of production and trade. Cross-sectional estimates suggest that market potential was an economically significant determinant of GDP per capita at this time. To assess welfare effects, we then study the general equilibrium impact of raising market potential by eliminating international borders in a quantitative counterfactual calculation for 1900. There are significant gains in real income per capita for all nations. We use US per capita output as a benchmark, since it attained leadership in this variable from the late 19th century and the literature frequently attributes this to its relatively large domestic market – a market unconstrained by trade costs associated with international borders. Because market potential was already near that of the US, the largest European countries do not entirely close their per capita income gaps with the US after removing all border barriers to trade within Europe or even globally. On the other hand, many small European countries could have done so.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:96:y:2015:i:1:p:72-87
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2014.11.012
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    3. Jacks, David S. & Novy, Dennis, 2018. "Market Potential and Global Growth over the Long Twentieth Century," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 221-237.
    4. Léo CHARLES, 2017. "A new empirical test of the infant-industry argument : the case of Switzerland protectionism during the 19th century," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2017-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    5. Bergeaud, A. & Cette, G. & Lecat, R., 2015. "Productivity trends from 1890 to 2012 in advanced countries," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 07, June..
    6. Cristián Ducoing & José Peres-Cajías & Marc Badia-Miró & Ann-Kristin Bergquist & Carlos Contreras & Kristin Ranestad & Sara Torregrosa, 2018. "Natural Resources Curse in the Long Run? Bolivia, Chile and Peru in the Nordic Countries’ Mirror," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-25, March.
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    8. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346, Elsevier.
    9. Christopher David Absell, 2020. "The rise of coffee in the Brazilian south‐east: tariffs and foreign market potential, 1827–40," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(4), pages 964-990, November.
    10. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2016. "Productivity Trends in Advanced Countries between 1890 and 2012," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 420-444, September.
    11. Jacopo Timini, 2021. "Revisiting the 'Cobden-Chevalier network' trade and welfare effects," Working Papers 2122, Banco de España.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market potential; Border effect; Gravity; Gains from trade; Convergence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative

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