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Global Trade and the Maritime Transport Revolution

  • David S. Jacks
  • Krishna Pendakur

What is the role of transport improvements in globalization? We argue that the nineteenth century is the ideal testing ground for this question: freight rates fell on average by 50% while global trade increased 400% from 1870 to 1913. We estimate the first indices of bilateral freight rates for the period and directly incorporate these into a standard gravity model. We also take the endogeneity of bilateral trade and freight rates seriously and propose an instrumental variables approach. The results are striking as we find no evidence that the maritime transport revolution was the primary driver of the late nineteenth century global trade boom. Rather, the most powerful forces driving the boom were those of income growth and convergence.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14139.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14139.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Publication status: published as David S Jacks & Krishna Pendakur, 2010. "Global Trade and the Maritime Transport Revolution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 745-755, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14139
Note: DAE ITI
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