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The Commodity Export, Growth, and Distribution Connection in Southeast Asia 1500-1940

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  • Williamson, Jeffrey G

Abstract

This paper explores Southeast Asia's trade performance over the four and a half centuries from 1500 to 1940. It identifies the determinants of the commodity export performance – falling trade costs, income growth of its trading partners, and improved supply conditions at home. It also explores its impact on Southeast Asia's growth performance: trade specialization generated more macro volatility, de-industrialization, rising colonial power, and greater inequality up to World War 1, but these forces turned around in the region thereafter, including some modest industrial Catch-up. Finally, the paper elaborates on the distributional impact and colonial profitability of commodity export booms and busts throughout the last century.

Suggested Citation

  • Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2013. "The Commodity Export, Growth, and Distribution Connection in Southeast Asia 1500-1940," CEPR Discussion Papers 9364, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9364
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 800-813, August.
    2. Antoni Estevadeordal & Brian Frantz & Alan M. Taylor, 2003. "The Rise and Fall of World Trade, 1870–1939," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 359-407.
    3. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "After Columbus: Explaining Europe'S Overseas Trade Boom, 1500 1800," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 417-456, June.
    4. Resnick, Stephen A., 1970. "The Decline of Rural Industry Under Export Expansion: A Comparison among Burma, Philippines, and Thailand, 1870–1938," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 51-73, March.
    5. Irwin, Douglas A, 1991. "Mercantilism as Strategic Trade Policy: The Anglo-Dutch Rivalry for the East India Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1296-1314, December.
    6. González, Rafael Dobado & Galvarriato, Aurora Gómez & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2008. "Mexican Exceptionalism: Globalization and De-Industrialization, 1750–1877," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 758-811, September.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    8. Pierre van der Eng, 2007. "'De-industrialisation' and colonial rule: The cotton textile industry in Indonesia, 1820-1941," Departmental Working Papers 2007-04, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    9. Prebisch, Raúl, 1950. "The economic development of Latin America and its principal problems," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 29973, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    10. Engerman,Stanley L. & Sokoloff,Kenneth L. With contributions by-Name:Haber,Stephen With contributions by-Name:Mariscal,Elisa V. With contributions by-Name:Zolt,Eric M., 2012. "Economic Development in the Americas since 1500," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521251372, March.
    11. Clingingsmith, David & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2008. "Deindustrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 209-234, July.
    12. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "Land, Labor, And Globalization In The Third World, 1870 1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(01), pages 55-85, March.
    13. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2011. "Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015158, January.
    14. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015153, January.
    15. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chilosi, David & Federico, Giovanni, 2015. "Early globalizations: The integration of Asia in the world economy, 1800–1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-18.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    commodities; development; distribution; southeast Asia; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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