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The Gains from Improved Market Efficiency: Trade Before and After the Transatlantic Telegraph

Author

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  • Mette Ejrnæs

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Karl Gunnar Persson

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper looks at the gains from improved market efficiency in long-distance grain trade in the second half of the 19th century when violations of the law of one price were reduced due to improved information transmission. Two markets, a major export centre, Chicago, and a major importer, Liverpool, are analyzed. We show that there was a law of one price equilibrium throughout the period but that markets displayed spells of demand- or supply-constrained trade when the law of one price was violated. Over time adjustments back to equilibrium, as measured by the half-life of a shock, become faster, violations of the law of one price become smaller and hence less persistent. There were also significant gains from improved market efficiency but that improvement took place after the information ‘regime’ shifted from pre-telegraphic communication to a regime with swift transmission of information in an era which developed a sophisticated commercial press and telegraphic communication. Improved market efficiency probably stimulated trade more than falling transport costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Mette Ejrnæs & Karl Gunnar Persson, 2006. "The Gains from Improved Market Efficiency: Trade Before and After the Transatlantic Telegraph," Discussion Papers 06-19, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0619
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2006/0619.pdf/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107.
    2. Irwin, Douglas A, 1988. "Welfare Effects of British Free Trade: Debate and Evidence from the 1840s," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1142-1164, December.
    3. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Uebele & Daniel Gallardo-Albarrán, 2015. "Paving the way to modernity: Prussian roads and grain market integration in Westphalia, 1821-1855," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(1), pages 69-92, March.
    2. Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2013. "Globalization revisited: Market integration and the wheat trade between North America and Britain from the eighteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 88-98.
    3. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2015. "How the Danes discovered Britain: the international integration of the Danish dairy industry before 1880," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 432-453.
    4. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2014. "Greasing the wheels of rural transformation? Margarine and the competition for the British butter market," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 769-792, August.
    5. Brunt, Liam & Cannon, Edmund, 2013. "Integration in the English wheat market 1770-1820," CEPR Discussion Papers 9504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Ganneval, S., 2016. "Spatial price transmission on agricultural commodity markets under different volatility regimes," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 173-185.
    7. Steinwender, Claudia, 2014. "Information frictions and the law of one price: "When the States and the Kingdom became United"," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2014-12, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market integration; error correction; law of one price;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services

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