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When, Where, and Why? Early Industrialization in the Poor Periphery 1870-1940

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

This paper documents industrial output and labor productivity growth around the poor periphery 1870-1940 (Latin America, the European periphery, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia). Intensive and extensive industrial growth accelerated there over these seven critical decades. There was an acceleration by the precocious leaders and more poor countries joined their club. Furthermore, many were actually catching up on Germany, the US and the UK. The paper then reports an early effort to identify the sources underlying the spread of the industrial revolution to the poor periphery. Productivity growth certainly made their industries more competitive in home and foreign markets, but other forces may have mattered more. Ever-cheaper labor gave them an edge in labor-intensive industries, increasingly cheap fuel and non-fuel intermediates from globally integrating markets appear to have taken resource advantages away from the European and North American leaders, and real exchange rate depreciation raised the price of import-competing manufactured goods at home. Tariffs helped protect the home market, but more modestly. All of this took place long before the popular post-WWII ISI strategies, especially in Latin America and Russia, where they had their origin.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2010. "When, Where, and Why? Early Industrialization in the Poor Periphery 1870-1940," NBER Working Papers 16344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16344
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Funke, Michael & Yu, Hao, 2011. "The emergence and spatial distribution of Chinese seaport cities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 196-209, June.
    2. Nogues, Julio, 2015. "Barreras sobre las exportaciones agropecuarias: impactos económicos y sociales de su eliminación
      [Dismantling export barriers: economic and social impacts]
      ," MPRA Paper 83223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Agustín S. Bénétrix & Kevin H. O’Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2012. "The Spread of Manufacturing to the Periphery 1870-2007: Eight Stylized Facts," Working Papers 0021, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General

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