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The Worldwide Economic Impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

  • Kevin H. O'Rourke

The paper provides a comparative history of the economic impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. By focussing on the relative price evidence, it is possible to show that the conflict had major economic effects around the world. Britain's control of the seas meant that it was much less affected than other nations, such as France and the United States. Explicit welfare calculations are provided for four countries, Britain, France, Sweden and the United States. Welfare losses were largest in the US, where they were of the order of 5-6% per annum; by contrast, they lay between 3-4% per annum in France, and between 1.7-1.8% per annum in Britain. On the other hand, the conflict helped pave the way for the more liberal international economic environment of the long 19th century.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11344.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11344.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Publication status: published as O'Rourke, Kevin. “The worldwide economic impact of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815.” Journal of Global History 1 (2006): 123-149.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11344
Note: DAE
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  1. Neal, Larry, 1991. "A Tale of Two Revolutions: International Capital Flows 1789-1819," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 57-92, January.
  2. Lovejoy, Paul E. & Richardson, David, 1995. "British Abolition and its Impact on Slave Prices Along the Atlantic Coast of Africa, 1783–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 98-119, March.
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  4. Joshua L. Rosenbloom, 2002. "Path Dependence and the Origins of Cotton Textile Manufacturing in New England," NBER Working Papers 9182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2000. "When Did Globalization Begin?," NBER Working Papers 7632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2003. "Commodity Market Integration, 1500-2000," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," NBER Working Papers 8186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Maxim Engers & Jonathan Eaton, 1999. "Sanctions: Some Simple Analytics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 409-414, May.
  9. Hueckel, Glenn, 1973. "War and the British economy, 1793-1815 a general equilibrium analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 365-396.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1, September.
  11. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
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  13. Cole, Arthur H. & Crandall, Ruth, 1964. "The International Scientific Committee on Price History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 381-388, September.
  14. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 1990. "Economic Sanctions Reconsidered: 2nd Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 82, May.
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