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The Terms of Trade and Economic Growth in the Periphery 1870-1938

  • Christopher Blattman
  • Jason Hwang
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

The contending fundamental determinants of growth -- institutions, geography and culture --exhibit far more persistence than do the growth rates they are supposed to explain. So, what exogenous shocks might account for the variance around those persistent fundamentals? The terms of trade seems to be one good place to look. Using a panel data base for 35 countries, this paper estimates the impact of terms of trade volatility and secular change between 1870 and 1938. We find that volatility was much more important than secular change. Additionally, both effects were asymmetric between core and periphery, findings that speak directly to the terms of trade debates that have raged since Prebisch and Singer wrote more than 50 years ago.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9940.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9940.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9940
Note: DAE ITI
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  1. M. Ayhan Kose & Raymond Riezman, 1999. "Trade Shocks and Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Africa," CSGR Working papers series 43/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  2. Bleaney, Michael & Greenaway, David, 2001. "The impact of terms of trade and real exchange rate volatility on investment and growth in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 491-500, August.
  3. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-83, May.
  5. Deaton, A-S & Miller, R-I, 1995. "International Commodity Prices, Macroeconomic Performance, and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa," Princeton Studies in International Economics 79, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  6. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
  7. Bleaney, Michael F & Greenaway, David, 1993. "Long-Run Trends in the Relative Price of Primary Commodities and in the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 349-63, July.
  8. Bloch, Harry & Sapsford, David, 2000. "Whither the Terms of Trade? An Elaboration of the Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 461-81, July.
  9. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Does Globalization Make the World More Unequal?," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
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