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Land, Labor and Globalization in the Pre-Industrial Third World


  • Jeffrey G. Williamson


A Third World data base documenting commodity and factor prices 1870-1940 has been collected, yielding annual time series on wage/rental ratios, land/labor ratios, the terms of trade, and other explanatory variables for: Argentina, Burma, Egypt, Japan, Korea, the Punjab, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay. These 9 have been added to a previously-collected data base for 10 in the so-called greater Atlantic economy: Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the USA. These 19 countries form the panel data base which is used to explore the determinants of wage/rental ratios the world round between 1870 and 1940. The data offer a useful way to identify the impact of globalization on the pre-industrial Third World. This paper finds commodity price convergence to have been bigger in the Third World than the Atlantic economy. It also identifies the sources of a previously-unnoticed but enormous convergence in wage/rental ratios. Commodity price convergence and factor supply responses appear to be an important source of the relative factor price convergence in the Third World, more clearly exposed by the absence of significant industrialization and capital-deepening forces there prior to 1940.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2000. "Land, Labor and Globalization in the Pre-Industrial Third World," NBER Working Papers 7784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2002. "Globalization and Inequality: Historical Trends," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 57(01), pages 65-104, March.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Huberman, Michael & Lewchuk, Wayne, 2003. "European economic integration and the labour compact, 1850 1913," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 3-41, April.
    4. Sebastián Fleitas & Andrés Rius & Carolina Román & Henry Willebald, 2013. "Contract enforcement, investment and growth in Uruguay since 1870," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 13-01, Instituto de Economía - IECON.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business


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