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The Trade Impact of the Zollverein

  • Keller, Wolfgang
  • Shiue, Carol Hua

The Zollverein was arguably the most important free-trade agreement of the 19th century. This paper investigates the economic impact of the Zollverein on trade in Germany. Although 1834 is the official date of the Zollverein's establishment, member states in fact joined in a non-random sequence over several decades. This was because the benefits of becoming a member increased, both as the size of the union increased, and as membership in the union became increasingly important for accessing foreign markets. Our key innovation in this paper is to incorporate the endogenous effects of accession into an estimate of the economic impact of the Zollverein customs union. We find these effects are important--our estimated effects are several times larger than the simpler estimates that do not take these effects into account. The paper discusses the implications of this for Germany's economic history as well as for other studies of trade liberalization.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9387.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9387
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  1. Carol H. Shiue & Wolfgang Keller, 2004. "Markets in China and Europe on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 10778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Heinemeyer, Hans Christian & Schulze, Max Stephan & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2008. "Endogenous Borders? Exploring a Natural Experiment on Border Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 6909, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Martin Uebele, 2010. "Demand Matters: German Wheat Market Integration 1806-1855 in a European Context," CQE Working Papers 1110, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
  14. Dave Donaldson, 2010. "Railroads of the Raj: estimating the impact of transportation infrastructure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38368, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. Ritschl, Albrecht & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2003. "Endogeneity of Currency Areas and Trade Blocs: Evidence from the Inter-war Period," CEPR Discussion Papers 4112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Shiue, Carol H., 2005. "From political fragmentation towards a customs union: Border effects of the German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 129-162, August.
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