1846 and All That: The Rise and Fall of British Wheat Protection in the Nineteenth Century
By documenting the legislative history of the Corn Laws from 1670 and using previously unused data to calculate annual Ad Valorem Equivalents for most years from 1814, it is possible to establish several important facts about British wheat protection. Statutory protection was only significant for a few years after 1815, the decline starting in the 1820s and continuing beyond the famous “repeal” in 1846. The level of protection prior to 1846 was, for many years, much lower than previous accounts have suggested. The annual time series of Ad Valorem Equivalents will allow for UK trade policy to play the important role it deserves in econometric analyses of the nineteenth century.
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