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The Worldwide Economic Impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj

The paper provides a comparative history of the economic impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. By focussing on the relative price evidence, it is possible to show that the conflict had major economic effects around the world. Britain's control of the seas meant that it was much less affected than other nations, such as France and the United States. Explicit welfare calculations are provided for four countries, Britain, France, Sweden and the United States. Welfare losses were largest in the US, where they were of the order of 5-6% per annum; by contrast, they lay between 3-4% per annum in France, and between 1.7-1.8% per annum in Britain. On the other hand, the conflict helped pave the way for the more liberal international economic environment of the long 19th century.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5079.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5079
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  1. O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 23-50, April.
  2. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 683, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. R. Findlay & K. H. O'Rourke, 2001. "Commodity market integration, 1500-2000," CEG Working Papers 20019, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  8. Lovejoy, Paul E. & Richardson, David, 1995. "British Abolition and its Impact on Slave Prices Along the Atlantic Coast of Africa, 1783–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 98-119, March.
  9. Joshua L. Rosenbloom, 2002. "Path Dependence and the Origins of Cotton Textile Manufacturing in New England," NBER Working Papers 9182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Neal, Larry, 1991. "A Tale of Two Revolutions: International Capital Flows 1789-1819," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 57-92, January.
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  12. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1.
  13. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 1990. "Economic Sanctions Reconsidered: 2nd Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 82.
  14. Hueckel, Glenn, 1973. "War and the British economy, 1793-1815 a general equilibrium analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 365-396.
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