The Terms of Trade and Economic Growth in the Periphery 1870-1938

40 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2003 Last revised: 5 Nov 2010

See all articles by Christopher Blattman

Christopher Blattman

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jason Hwang

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Jeffrey G. Williamson

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus; Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 2003

Abstract

The contending fundamental determinants of growth -- institutions, geography and culture --exhibit far more persistence than do the growth rates they are supposed to explain. So, what exogenous shocks might account for the variance around those persistent fundamentals? The terms of trade seems to be one good place to look. Using a panel data base for 35 countries, this paper estimates the impact of terms of trade volatility and secular change between 1870 and 1938. We find that volatility was much more important than secular change. Additionally, both effects were asymmetric between core and periphery, findings that speak directly to the terms of trade debates that have raged since Prebisch and Singer wrote more than 50 years ago.

Suggested Citation

Blattman, Christopher and Hwang, Jason and Williamson, Jeffrey G., The Terms of Trade and Economic Growth in the Periphery 1870-1938 (September 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9940, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=439621

Christopher Blattman

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Jason Hwang

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States

Jeffrey G. Williamson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus ( email )

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Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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