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Trade Disruptions and America's Early Industrialization

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  • Douglas A. Irwin
  • Joseph H. Davis

Abstract

Between 1807 and 1815, U.S. imports of manufactured goods were severely cut by Jefferson's trade embargo, subsequent non-importation measures, and the War of 1812. These disruptions are commonly believed to have spurred early U.S. industrialization by promoting the growth of nascent domestic manufacturers. This paper uses a newly available series on U.S. industrial production to investigate how this protection from foreign competition affected domestic manufacturing. On balance, the trade disruptions did not decisively accelerate U.S. industrialization as trend growth in industrial production was little changed over this period. However, the disruptions may have played a limited role in shifting resources from trade-dependent industries (such as shipbuilding) to domestic infant industries (such as cotton textiles).

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas A. Irwin & Joseph H. Davis, 2003. "Trade Disruptions and America's Early Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 9944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9944
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 813-850, December.
    2. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
    3. Irwin, Douglas A. & Temin, Peter, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff On Cotton Textiles Revisited," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 777-798, September.
    4. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    5. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
    6. Joshua L. Rosenbloom, 2002. "Path Dependence and the Origins of Cotton Textile Manufacturing in New England," NBER Working Papers 9182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Douglas A. Irwin, 2001. "The Welfare Cost of Autarky: Evidence from the Jeffersonian Trade Embargo, 1807-1809," NBER Working Papers 8692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Goldin, Claudia D. & Lewis, Frank D., 1980. "The role of exports in American economic growth during the napoleonic wars, 1793 to 1807," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 6-25, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Hilt, 2016. "Corporation Law and the Shift toward Open Access in the Antebellum United States," NBER Chapters,in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 147-177 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Joseph H. Davis, 2005. "An Improved Annual Chronology of U.S. Business Cycles since the 1790's," NBER Working Papers 11157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services

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