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Whither the Terms of Trade? An Elaboration of the Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis

  • Bloch, Harry
  • Sapsford, David

Movements in the prices of primary products and manufactured goods are analysed using a model that introduces differences in wage and price determination between primary production and manufacturing. Wages and prices in primary production are treated as competitively determined, while prices and wages in manufacturing are determined by mark-up pricing and union-employer bargaining, respectively. The objective is to capture the influence of structural differences between manufacturing and primary production on the terms of trade between industrialised and developing worlds as discussed in the seminal contributions to the development literature by Raul Prebisch and Hans Singer. The model is estimated using price and wage data from the post-World War II period. Support is found for the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis; however, our estimates suggest that, during periods of particularly rapid manufacturing growth, there have been intervals of net improvement in the terms of trade of primary producers. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 461-81

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:24:y:2000:i:4:p:461-81
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