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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5079
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  1. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1984. "Why Was British Growth So Slow During the Industrial Revolution?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 687-712, September.
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  10. 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.
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