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Home Biases, 19th Century Style

  • Marc Flandreau

    (Centre for Finance and Development)

This paper discusses the existence of 'home' biases in the 19th century global capital market, whereby colonies appear to have received a 'disproportionate' amount of capital from their metropolis. Starting from a discussion of the Bulow Rogoff (1989) problem, we argue that imperial links provided a natural institutional framework to make pre-commitment credible by ensuring an adequate degree of willingness to pay. This was not because imperial rule provided coercion or punishment, but rather because it supplied a legal framework that effectively suppressed the « sovereign » nature of colonial debts. We conclude that the greater facility with which capital migrated in the 19th century has much to do with the fact that colonies were more akin to the 'regions' of modern countries.

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File URL: http://spire.sciencespo.fr/hdl:/2441/601/resources/cfi-wp-mf-cepr5398.pdf
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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number n°5398.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/601
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2003. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 417-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  7. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2005. "Supersanctions and Sovereign Debt Repayment," NBER Working Papers 11472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Wealth bias in the first global capital market boom, 1870-1913," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 304-337, 04.
  9. Tamim Bayoumi, 1990. "Saving-Investment Correlations: Immobile Capital, Government Policy, or Endogenous Behavior?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(2), pages 360-387, June.
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