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French textile specialisation in long run perspective (1836–1938): trade policy as industrial policy

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  • Stéphane Bécuwe
  • Bertrand Blancheton

Abstract

This article concerns textile industry dynamics. Using a new database covering French international trade between 1836 and 1938, it focuses on France’s specialisation in various textiles. It demonstrates, for the first time, the major influence of trade policy on the French textile trade during the first globalisation. Tariffs appear to be key factors in specialisation, measured by the Lafay Index and intra-industry trade in textiles. By analysing changes in tariffs between textile raw materials and finished textiles and decorrelation between tariffs, we show that an effective trade protection approach was applied by successive French governments in order to sustain the industrial competitiveness of textile firms. Such trade policy slowed down textile de-specialisation in silk and wool fabrics until World War One.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphane Bécuwe & Bertrand Blancheton, 2020. "French textile specialisation in long run perspective (1836–1938): trade policy as industrial policy," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(6), pages 891-914, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:62:y:2020:i:6:p:891-914
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2018.1494732
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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