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Brazilian export growth and divergence in the tropics during the nineteenth century


  • Tena Junguito, Antonio
  • Absell, Christopher David


The objective of this paper is to reappraise both the accuracy of the official export statistics and the conventional narrative of Brazilian export growth during the period immediately following independence. We undertake an accuracy test of the official values of Brazilian export statistics and find evidence of considerable under-valuation. Once corrected, during the postindependence decades (1821-1849) Brazil's current exports represented a larger share of its economy and its constant growth is found to be more dynamic than any other period of the nineteenth century. We posit that this dynamism was related to an exogenous institutional shock in the form of British West Indies slave emancipation that afforded Brazil a competitive advantage.

Suggested Citation

  • Tena Junguito, Antonio & Absell, Christopher David, 2015. "Brazilian export growth and divergence in the tropics during the nineteenth century," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp15-03, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp15-03

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The limitations of correcting data with more data
      by Thales ZP in NEP-HIS blog on 2016-07-07 18:33:35
    2. Diversos: só história econômica
      by Leonardo Monasterio in Blog do Leonardo Monasterio on 2016-07-13 01:38:00


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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:ehsrev:v:70:y:2017:i:4:p:1244-1267 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:reveco:v:36:y:2018:i:01:p:87-115_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tena Junguito, Antonio & Federico, Giovanni, 2017. "Exports and American divergence. Lost decades and Emancipation collapse in Latin American and the Caribbean 1820-1870," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 24208, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    4. Giovanni Federico & Antonio Tena‐Junguito, 2017. "Lewis revisited: tropical polities competing on the world market, 1830–1938," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1244-1267, November.
    5. Absell, Christopher David & Tena-Junguito, Antonio, 2018. "The Reconstruction Of Brazil’S Foreign Trade Series, 1821-1913," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 87-115, March.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • N76 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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