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The terms of trade debate and the policy implications for primary product producers

  • Tilton, John E.

The terms of trade debate initiated by Raul Prebisch and Hans Singer over 60 years ago continues to this day and is unlikely to be resolved soon. However, even if Prebisch and Singer are right and the terms of trade of countries exporting primary products are falling, to suggest that these countries should diversify away from the production of mineral commodities and other primary products, as many have done, may be poor policy advice, encouraging countries to abandon a promising source of wealth with which to foster economic development.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resources Policy.

Volume (Year): 38 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 196-203

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:2:p:196-203
DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.12.001
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  6. Cuddington, John T., 1992. "Long-run trends in 26 primary commodity prices : A disaggregated look at the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 207-227, October.
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  9. José E. Galdón-Sánchez & James A. Schmitz Jr., 2002. "Competitive Pressure and Labor Productivity: World Iron-Ore Markets in the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1222-1235, September.
  10. Diakosavvas, Dimitris & Scandizzo, Pasquale Lucio, 1991. "Trends in the Terms of Trade of Primary Commodities, 1900-1982: The Controversy and Its Origins," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 231-64, January.
  11. Bleaney, Michael F & Greenaway, David, 1993. "Long-Run Trends in the Relative Price of Primary Commodities and in the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 349-63, July.
  12. Hadass, Yael S & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2003. "Terms-of-Trade Shocks and Economic Performance, 1870-1940: Prebisch and Singer Revisited," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 629-56, April.
  13. James A. Schmitz, 2005. "What determines productivity? lessons from the dramatic recovery of the U.S. and Canadian iron-ore industries following their early 1980s crisis," Staff Report 286, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
  15. Charles L. Schultze, 2003. "The Consumer Price Index: Conceptual Issues and Practical Suggestions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
  16. Spraos, John, 1980. "The Statistical Debate on the Net Barter Terms of Trade between Primary Commodities and Manufactures," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 107-28, March.
  17. Svedberg, Peter & Tilton, John E., 2006. "The real, real price of nonrenewable resources: copper 1870-2000," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 501-519, March.
  18. Joaquín Jara, J. & Pérez, Patricio & Villalobos, Pablo, 2010. "Good deposits are not enough: Mining labor productivity analysis in the copper industry in Chile and Peru 1992-2009," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 247-256, December.
  19. Bloch, Harry & Sapsford, David, 1997. "Some estimates of Prebisch and Singer effects on the terms of trade between primary producers and manufacturers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 1873-1884, November.
  20. Fernandez, Viviana, 2012. "Trends in real commodity prices: How real is real?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 30-47.
  21. David I. Harvey & Neil M. Kellard & Jakob B. Madsen & Mark E. Wohar, 2010. "The Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis: Four Centuries of Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 367-377, May.
  22. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
  23. Denny Ellerman & Thomas Stoker & Ernst R. Berndt, 2001. "Sources of Productivity Growth in the American Coal Industry 1972-95," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 373-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Graham Davis, 2011. "The resource drag," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-176, June.
  25. Wright, Gavin, 1990. "The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879-1940," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 651-68, September.
  26. Grilli, Enzo R & Yang, Maw Cheng, 1988. "Primary Commodity Prices, Manufactured Goods Prices, and the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries: What the Long Run Shows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(1), pages 1-47, January.
  27. Vernon Topp & Leo Soames & Dean Parham & Harry Bloch, 2008. "Productivity in the Mining Industry: Measurement and Interpretation," Staff Working Papers 0807, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
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