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Market Integration and Economic Development: A Long-run Comparison

  • Wolfgang Keller
  • Carol H. Shiue

How much of China's recent economic performance can be attributed to market-oriented reforms introduced in the last two decades? A long-run perspective may be important for understanding the process of economic development occurring today. This paper compares the integration of rice markets in China today and 270 years ago. In the 18th century, transport technology was non-mechanized, but markets were close to being free markets. We distinguish local harvest and weather from aggregate sources of price variation in a historical sample and in a similarly constructed contemporary sample. Findings indicate the degree of market integration in the 1720s is a very good predictor of per capita income in the 1990s. Moreover, the current pattern of interregional income in China is strongly linked to persistent geographic factors that were already apparent several centuries ago, well before the enactment of modern reform programs.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10300.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Publication status: published as Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2007. "Market Integration and Economic Development: A Long-run Comparison," Review of Development Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 107-123, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10300
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  1. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 7828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2003. "The Origins of Spatial Interaction," NBER Working Papers 10069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Coe, David T. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "International R&D spillovers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 859-887, May.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  7. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  8. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time as a Trade Barrier," GTAP Working Papers 1152, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  9. Keller, W., 1996. "Are International R&D Spillovers Trade-Related? Analyzing Spillovers Among Randomly Matched Trade Partners," Working papers 9607, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 2004. "A Theory of North-South Trade and Globalization," 2004 Meeting Papers 30, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Carol H. Shiue, 2002. "Transport Costs and the Geography of Arbitrage in Eighteenth-Century China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1406-1419, December.
  12. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor'S Edge: Distortions And Incremental Reform In The People'S Republic Of China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1091-1135, November.
  13. Mario J. Crucini, 1999. "On International and National Dimensions of Risk Sharing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 73-84, February.
  14. Kevin O’rourke & Jeffrey Williamson, 2005. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution Since 1500," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-34, 01.
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