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Stages of Diversification: France, 1836-1938

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  • Stéphane Becuwe
  • Bertrand Blancheton
  • Christopher M. Meissner

Abstract

A large literature has documented an association between economic growth and export diversification. We study this question in France between 1836 and 1938. The period witnessed the onset of modern economic growth and sharp changes in the level of international competition. We use a new long term database on French foreign trade at a high level of disaggregation. At the dawn of the first Globalization, France appears to have specialized along Ricardian lines, exporting a handful of textile products in large quantities. There is a decrease in specialization from 1860 to World War I along the lines of modern studies. Changes in trade costs along with economic growth help explain the evolution of France’s comparative advantage. The decline of export concentration is associated with a chronic deficit in the balance of trade during the Belle Époque and the major part of the interwar period particularly after 1927.

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  • Stéphane Becuwe & Bertrand Blancheton & Christopher M. Meissner, 2015. "Stages of Diversification: France, 1836-1938," NBER Working Papers 21777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21777
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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Bécuwe & Bertrand Blancheton, 2020. "French textile specialisation in long run perspective (1836–1938): trade policy as industrial policy," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(6), pages 891-914, August.
    2. Jacopo Timini, 2018. "The drivers of Italian exports and product market entry: 1862-1913 (Updated August 2020)," Working Papers 1836, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage, revised Aug 2020.
    3. Stéphane Becuwe & Bertrand Blancheton & Christopher M. Meissner, 2018. "The French (Trade) Revolution of 1860: Intra-Industry Trade and Smooth Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 25173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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