One is Not Enough! Understanding World Trade Collapses
Institute of Social Studies Working Paper
40 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2011 Last revised: 15 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 8, 2011
In order to put the mainstream narrative for the recent world trade collapse into a consistent economic-historic framework, this paper builds a comparable data set for the analysis of world trade collapses consisting of 72 periods of import decline (27 in the 1930s; 45 in 2008-10). The empirical analysis explains about three quarters of cross-country variance and supports the emerging professional consensus that identifies the decrease in domestic demand and the share of manufacturing trade as key determinants of the severity of a world trade collapse, but the paper also reveals significant differences between the 1930s and the 2000s. Both the demand shock and the composition effect are comparatively speaking less important in the recent trade collapse. The paper identifies country-specific determinants (level of development, political system and openness) that have not (yet) been considered in the mainstream narrative for the recent world trade collapse.
Keywords: World trade collapse, deglobalization, economic history, value chains, 1930s, 2008-2010 economic history, comparative analysis, international political economy
JEL Classification: F01, F10, G01, N70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation