The Importance of Being British? Imperial Factors and the Growth of British Exports, 1870-1960
Between 1870 and the 1950s British exports to the Empire and Commonwealth steadily grew in terms of volume and as a proportion of all exports. To many this reflected the non-market advantages Britain enjoyed there, advantages allegedly rooted in imperial rule and the inherent Britishness of these markets. This paper tests this claim. Using quantitative methods, it gauges the net effect of such factors and shows that the growth of British exports to the Empire was not simply, or even predominately, due to imperial advantages. In most periods, other factors, most notably the economic growth of the importing markets, were of much greater importance.
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