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Opening to the East: shipping between Europe and Asia, 1770-1830


  • Peter Solar

    () (Vesalius College)


"Shipping costs between Europe and Asia were reduced by two-thirds between the 1770s and the 1820s. Copper sheathing and other technical improvements which allowed ships to make more frequent voyages over longer lifetimes accounted for part of the cost reduction. British hegemony in the Indian Ocean, which ended an eighteenth-century arms race, accounted for the rest by allowing the substitution of smaller ships which cost less to build and required fewer men per ton. These changes were at least as important as the elimination of monopoly profits in narrowing intercontinental price differentials during the early nineteenth century."

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Solar, 2013. "Opening to the East: shipping between Europe and Asia, 1770-1830," Working Papers 13013, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:13013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. O’Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 23-50, April.
    2. Harley, C. Knick, 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates And Productivity, 1740-1913: The Primacy Of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8802, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Carlos, Ann M. & Nicholas, Stephen, 1988. "“Giants of an Earlier Capitalism†: The Chartered Trading Companies as Modern Multinationals," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 398-419, October.
    4. Hillmann, Henning & Gathmann, Christina, 2011. "Overseas Trade and the Decline of Privateering," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 730-761, September.
    5. Jan De Vries, 2010. "The limits of globalization in the early modern world," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(3), pages 710-733, August.
    6. Allen, Robert C., 2009. "Engels' pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the british industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 418-435, October.
    7. Harley, C. Knick, 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates and Productivity, 1740–1913: The Primacy of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 851-876, December.
    8. Jones, S. R. H. & Ville, Simon P., 1996. "Efficient Transactors or Rent-Seeking Monopolists? The Rationale for Early Chartered Trading Companies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(04), pages 898-915, December.
    9. J. R. Harris, 1966. "Copper and Shipping in the Eighteenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 19(3), pages 550-568, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kelly, Morgan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2018. "Speed under Sail during the Early Industrial Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 12576, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Michel Fouquin & Jules Hugot, 2016. "Back to the Future: International Trade Costs and the Two Globalizations," Vniversitas Económica 015130, Universidad Javeriana - Bogotá.

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    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General


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