IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/12427.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820

Author

Listed:
  • Melitz, Jacques

Abstract

The paper takes issue with the mainstream economic analysis of the enormous flow of silver into China in 1550-1820. First, I challenge the view that arbitrage between gold and silver in European trade with China was important except for one twenty-year spell. Next, I argue that had China imported gold, its history would have been much the same. I also dispute the idea that the persistence of the silver inflows from 1550 to 1820 implies any persistent disequilibrium, and I maintain that economic theory can easily accommodate the view that the inflow of silver into China sponsored growth in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Melitz, Jacques, 2017. "Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820," CEPR Discussion Papers 12427, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12427
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cepr.org/publications/DP12427
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. von Glahn,Richard, 2016. "The Economic History of China," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107030565, November.
    2. Kent G. Deng, 2008. "Miracle Or Mirage? Foreign Silver, China'S Economy And Globalization From The Sixteenth To The Nineteenth Centuries," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 320-357, August.
    3. A. Kobata, 1965. "The Production and Uses of Gold and Silver in Sixteenth-and Seventeenth-Century Japan," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 18(2), pages 245-266, August.
    4. von Glahn,Richard, 2016. "The Economic History of China," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107615700, November.
    5. Jan De Vries, 2010. "The limits of globalization in the early modern world," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(3), pages 710-733, August.
    6. Broadberry, Stephen & Guan, Hanhui & Li, David, 2017. "China, Europe and the great Divergence: A Study in Historical Natonal Accounting, 980-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 11972, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Monroe, Arthur E., 1923. "Monetary Theory Before Adam Smith," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number monroe1923.
    8. Blitz, Rudolph C., 1967. "Mercantilist Policies and the Pattern of World Trade, 1500–1750," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 39-55, March.
    9. Pradeep Dubey & Siddhartha Sahi & Martin Shubik, 2014. "Minimally Complex Exchange Mechanisms: Emergence of Prices, Markets, and Money," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1945, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Glahn, Richard Von, 1996. "Myth and Reality of China's Seventeenth-Century Monetary Crisis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 429-454, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Deng, Kent & O'Brien, Patrick, 2021. "The Kuznetsian paradigm for the study of modern economic history and the Great Divergence with appendices of literature review and statistical data," Economic History Working Papers 108563, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Deng, Kent & O'Brien, Patrick, 2021. "The Kuznetsian paradigm for the study of modern economic history and the Great Divergence with appendices of literature review and statistical data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108563, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Deng, Kent & Shen, Jim Huangnan, 2019. "From state resource allocation to a 'low-level equilibrium trap': re-evaluation of economic performance of Mao's China, 1949-78," Economic History Working Papers 101127, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    4. Michael D. Bordo & William Roberds, 2022. "Central Bank Digital Currencies: An Old Tale with a New Chapter," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2022-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. James Kai-sing Kung, 2022. "On the Origins and Persistent Effects of the World’s First Meritocratic Institution," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 64(4), pages 563-581, December.
    6. Xingyuan Feng & Weisen Li & Evan W. Osborne, 2017. "Classical Liberalism in China: Some History and Prospects," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 14(2), pages 218–240-2, May.
    7. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr, 2018. "Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Preindustrial Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 133(1), pages 1-70.
    8. Deng, Hanzhi, 2021. "The merit of misfortune: Taiping Rebellion and the rise of indirect taxation in modern China, 1850s-1900s," Economic History Working Papers 108564, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    9. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2020. "China’s Foreign Trade and Investment, 1800-1950," NBER Working Papers 27558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Deng, Kent & O'Brien, Patrick, 2017. "How Well Did Facts Travel to Support Protracted Debate on the History of the Great Divergence between Western Europe and Imperial China?," MPRA Paper 77290, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Jannie Rossouw, 2021. "Perspectives of a capitalist on targeting inflation at 3 per cent and on fiscal sustainability in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 89(4), pages 635-643, December.
    12. Hanhui Guan & Nuno Palma & Meng Wu, 2022. "The Rise and Fall of Paper Money in Yuan China, 1260-1368," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2207, Economics, The University of Manchester, revised Jan 2024.
    13. Kumon, Yuzuru, 2021. "The Deep Roots of Inequality," IAST Working Papers 21-125, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    14. Deng, Kent & O'Brien, Patrick, 2017. "How well did facts travel to support protracted debate on the history of the Great Divergence between Western Europe and Imperial China?," Economic History Working Papers 69923, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    15. Jiarui Wu, 2023. "Review of Margherita Zanasi, Economic Thought in Modern China: Market and Consumption, c.1500–1937, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, 252 pages, ISBN: 978-1-108-49993-4," Post-Print hal-03727085, HAL.
    16. Ronald Findlay, 2018. "Asia and the world economy in historical perspective," WIDER Working Paper Series 85, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Lisa Blaydes & Christopher Paik, 2021. "Trade and Political Fragmentation on the Silk Roads: The Economic Effects of Historical Exchange between China and the Muslim East," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 65(1), pages 115-132, January.
    18. Roland, Gérard & Jia, Ruixue & Xie, Yang, 2021. "A Theory of Power Structure and Institutional Compatibility: China vs. Europe Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 15700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Jung Mee Park & Chun-Ping Wang, 2020. "Interpreting the Maritime and Overland Trade Regulations of 1882 between ChosŠn and the Qing: How logics of appropriateness shaped Sino–Korean relations," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 114-132, March.
    20. Daniel Bernhofen & Markus Eberhardt & Jianan Li & Stephen Morgan, 2017. "The evolution of markets in China and Western Europe on the eve of industrialisation," Discussion Papers 2017-12, University of Nottingham, GEP.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Silver flows into china 1550-1820; Silver/gold exchange rates; Transaction costs in international trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N25 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Asia including Middle East
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12427. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.