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Was Germany ever united? Borders and domestic trade, 1885 - 1933

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  • Wolf, Nikolaus

Abstract

Was Germany ever united? Given the historical circumstances of Germany's unification in the 19th century there is no obvious answer to this question. But such an answer can affect the prospects of the post-1989 unification process, and beyond this of European integration. We provide an econometric analysis of Germany's economic integration across various internal borders from the foundation of the Kaiserreich until the end of the Weimar Republic. This analysis is based on a new comprehensive set of domestic trade flow data on railways and waterways, covering all parts of Germany 1885-1933. First, the disintegration effects by the separation of Alsace-Lorraine and Western Poland from Germany after the Versailles treaty were somewhat limited by previous disintegration of these regions. Second, while there is broad support for increasing integration across old political, administrative, and confessional borders between 1885 and 1933, a geographical divide between eastern and western parts of Germany had a persistent trade diverting effect well into the 1930s.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolf, Nikolaus, 2006. "Was Germany ever united? Borders and domestic trade, 1885 - 1933," Discussion Papers 2006/4, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:20064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    4. Hamilton, C.B. & Winters, L.A., 1992. "Opening Up International Trade in Eastern Europe," Papers 511, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    5. Shiue, Carol H., 2005. "From political fragmentation towards a customs union: Border effects of the German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 129-162, August.
    6. Wolf, Nikolaus, 2005. "Path dependent border effects: the case of Poland's reunification (1918-1939)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 414-438, July.
    7. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Koulovatianos, Christos & Schrder, Carsten & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "Nonmarket Household Time and the Cost of Children," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 42-51.
    2. Heinemeyer, Hans Christian, 2006. "The impact of new borders on trade: World War I and the economic disintegration of Central Europe," Discussion Papers 2006/14, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Germany; Economic Integration; Railways; Waterways;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative

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