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

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

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Growth and Distribution Since 1500," Trinity Economics Papers 20025, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:20025
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Vladimir Popov, 2010. "Development theories and development experience: half a century journey," Working Papers w0153, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    2. Vladimir Popov, 2009. "Why the West Became Rich before China and Why China Has Been Catching Up with the West since 1949: nother Explanation of the “Great Divergence” and “Great Convergence” Stories," Working Papers w0132, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2006. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 43-70, March.
    4. Chor, Davin, 2005. "Institutions, wages, and inequality: The case of Europe and its periphery (1500-1899)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 547-566, October.
    5. James A. Robinson, 2006. "Equity, Institutions and the Development Process," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 32, pages 17-50.
    6. Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2013. "Globalization revisited: Market integration and the wheat trade between North America and Britain from the eighteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 88-98.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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