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From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Growth and Distribution Since 1500

  • Kevin H. O'Rourke
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

A recent endogenous growth literature has focused on the transition from a Malthusian world where real wages were linked to factor endowments, to one where modern growth has broken that link. In this Paper we present evidence on another, related phenomenon: the dramatic reversal in distributional trends – from a steep secular fall to a steep secular rise in wage-land rent ratios – which occurred some time early in the 19th century. What explains this reversal? While it may seem logical to locate the causes in the Industrial Revolutionary forces emphasized by endogenous growth theorists, we provide evidence that something else mattered just as much: the opening up of the European economy to international trade.

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Paper provided by Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics in its series Trinity Economics Papers with number 20025.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:20025
Contact details of provider: Postal: Trinity College, Dublin 2
Phone: (+ 353 1) 6081325
Fax: 6772503
Web page: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
  2. K. H. O'Rourke & J. G. Williamson, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," CEG Working Papers 20014, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  3. Findlay, R., 1989. "The Triangular Trade And The Atlantic Economy Of The Eighteenth Century: A Simple General Equilibrium Model," Discussion Papers 1989_05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
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  8. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
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  12. Gregory Clark, 2001. "Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England,1670–1869[This resea]," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 54(3), pages 477-505, 08.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Globalization and Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 8846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 23-50, April.
  15. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-33, March.
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  18. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
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  25. Harley, C. Knick, 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates and Productivity, 1740–1913: The Primacy of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 851-876, December.
  26. Christopher Blattman & Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Who Protected and Why? Tariffs the World Around 1870-1938," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2010, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  27. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "The European Grain Invasion, 1870–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 775-801, December.
  28. Patrick O'Brien, 1982. "European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, 02.
  29. John H. Coatsworth & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "The Roots of Latin American Protectionism: Looking Before the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 8999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, June.
  31. Galor, Oded & Mountford, Andrew, 2002. "Why are a Third of People Indian and Chinese? Trade, Industrialization and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 3136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  33. O'Rourke, Kevin & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1994. "Late Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Factor-Price Convergence: Were Heckscher and Ohlin Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 892-916, December.
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