The Strange Birth of Liberal Denmark: Danish trade protection and the growth of the dairy industry since the mid-nineteenth century
The usual story of the “first era of globalization” at the end of the nineteenth century sees Denmark as something as an outlier: a country which, like Britain, resisted the globalization backlash in the wake of the inflow of cheap grain from the New World, but where agriculture, rather than going into decline, in fact flourished. Key to the success of Danish agriculture was an early diversification towards dairy production. We dispute this simple story which sees Denmark as something of a liberal paragon. Denmark’s success owed much to a prudent use of trade policy which favoured dairy production. Moreover, this favouritism continued even after a more general movement to free trade in the 1860s. Using micro-level data from individual dairies, we quantify the implied subsidy to dairy production from the tariffs, and demonstrate that this in many cases ensured the profitability of individual dairies.
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- Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2009. "Something Rational in the State of Denmark? The Case of an Outsider in the Cobden-Chevalier Network 1860-1875," Discussion Papers 09-20, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.