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Atlantic trade and regional specialisation in nothern Spain 1550-1650: an integrated trade theory-institutional organisation approach


  • Grafe, Regina


Based on an in-depth study of the northern Spanish economy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this paper argues that commercial expansion was a major source of the diverging performance of European regions. It develops an approach that integrates insights from more recent trade theory with those from new institutional economics. New trade theory informs the analysis of changes at a macro-level - defined as traded quantities, the structure of (inter-) regional integration and specialisation, and the larger institutional framework. New institutional economics are the basis for the interpretation of developments at a micro-level defined as the strategies of merchant organisations and individual firms within that larger framework. The paper shows how macro-level changes impacted upon - and interacted with - micro-level structures and processes of adaptation. The integration of quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrates that the Commercial Revolution transformed the European economy more through structural change than through increased availability of goods.

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  • Grafe, Regina, 2001. "Atlantic trade and regional specialisation in nothern Spain 1550-1650: an integrated trade theory-institutional organisation approach," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wh016502, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wh016502

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    1. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
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