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The great escape? The contribution of the empire to Portugal’s economic growth, 1500-1800

  • Leonor Freire Costa

    ()

  • Nuno Palma

    ()

  • Jaime Reis

    ()

Newly assembled macroeconomic statistics for early modern Portugal reveal one of Europe’s most vigorous colonial traders and at the same time one of its least successful growth records. Using an estimated model in the spirit of Allen (2009) we conclude that intercontinental trade had a substantial and increasingly positive impact on economic growth. In the heyday of colonial expansion, eliminating the economic links to empire would have reduced Portugal’s per capita income by roughly a fifth. While the empire helped the domestic economy it was not sufficient to annul the tendency towards decline in relation to Europe’s advanced core which set in from the 17th century onwards. We conclude that the explanation for Portugal’s long-term backwardness must be sought primarily in domestic conditions

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wp13-07.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp13-07
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521868273 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  3. Guillaume Daudin, 2006. "Profits du commerce international et croissance de la France au XVIIIe siècle," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/684, Sciences Po.
  4. Robert C. Allen & Tommy E. Murphy & Eric B. Schneider, 2011. "The Colonial Origins of the Divergence in the Americas: A Labour Market Approach," Working Papers 402, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 4274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/684 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Patrick O'Brien, 1982. "European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, 02.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521687850 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, 08.
  10. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," Trinity Economics Papers tep0107, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  11. Rei, Claudia, 2011. "The organization of Eastern merchant empires," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 116-135, January.
  12. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  13. Guillaume Daudin, 2006. "Profits du commerce intercontinental et croissance dans la France du xviiie siècle," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 605-613.
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