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Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade – Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, (1860-1875)

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  • Markus Lampe

Abstract

This study contributes to a revised picture of nineteenth-century bilateralism. Employing a new disaggregated dataset, it argues that bilateral treaties did not implement general free trade, but instead reduced tariffs unevenly through commodity-specific preferences, especially favoring manufactured goods. Gravity model estimates show that specific liberalizations translated into systematic increases in exports of corresponding items, but not overall trade. Exporters of countries whose governments used bilateralism strategically to bring down partner tariffs benefitted most. Hence, the network in form and outcome is more properly identified with reciprocal liberalization practiced by the French than with British free trade ideology.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Lampe, 2009. "Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade – Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, (1860-1875)," CQE Working Papers 0209, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
  • Handle: RePEc:cqe:wpaper:0209
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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke & Fabian Ruthardt & Kaspar Wüthrich, 2020. "Protectionism and Economic Growth: Causal Evidence from the First Era of Globalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 8759, CESifo.
    2. Jacopo Timini, 2018. "Currency unions and heterogeneous trade effects: the case of the Latin Monetary Union [Bilateral treaties and the most-favored-nation clause: the myth of trade liberalization in the nineteenth cent," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 322-348.
    3. Stéphane BECUWE & Bertrand BLANCHETON, 2014. "Relations internationales et discriminations tarifaires : le cas de la France (1850-1913)," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2014-07, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    4. Rekha Misra & Sonam Choudhry, 2020. "Trade War: Likely Impact on India," Foreign Trade Review, , vol. 55(1), pages 93-118, February.
    5. Becuwe, Stéphane & Blancheton, Bertrand & Meissner, Christopher M., 2021. "The French (Trade) Revolution of 1860: Intra-Industry Trade and Smooth Adjustment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 688-722, September.
    6. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2009. "Something Rational in the State of Denmark? The Case of an Outsider in the Cobden-Chevalier Network 1860-1875," Discussion Papers 09-20, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. Tena-Junguito, Antonio & Lampe, Markus & Fernandes, Felipe Tã‚Mega, 2012. "How Much Trade Liberalization Was There in the World Before and After Cobden-Chevalier?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 708-740, August.
    8. Léo CHARLES, 2017. "A new empirical test of the infant-industry argument : the case of Switzerland protectionism during the 19th century," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2017-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
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    10. Douglas A. Irwin & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2013. "Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 11-37, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Léo CHARLES, 2015. "Evolution of trade patterns and economic performance:the case of France and Switzerland during the nineteenth century," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2015-28, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    13. Uebele, Martin, 2011. "National and international market integration in the 19th century: Evidence from comovement," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 226-242, April.
    14. Stéphane BECUWE & Bertrand BLANCHETON & Léo CHARLES, 2013. "First globalization: Why did France miss the boat?," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2013-17, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    15. Barry Eichengreen & Arnaud Mehl & Livia Chițu, 2021. "Mars or Mercury redux: The geopolitics of bilateral trade agreements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 21-44, January.
    16. Toshiki Kawashima, 2018. "A European Political-Economic Space That Embraced Japan: The International Context of the Conventional Tariff Network, CA. 1892-1914," CEH Discussion Papers 08, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    17. Jacopo Timini, 2021. "Revisiting the 'Cobden-Chevalier network' trade and welfare effects," Working Papers 2122, Banco de España.
    18. Douglas A. Irwin & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2013. "Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 11-37 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Roger Vicquéry, 2021. "The Common Currency Effect on International Trade: Evidence from an Accidental Monetary Union," Working papers 856, Banque de France.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    preferential trade agreements; Anglo-French treaty; bilateralism; liberalisation; gravity model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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