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Mass emigration was one key feature of the Great Irish Famine which distinguishes it from today's famines. By bringing famine victims to overseas food supplies, it undoubtedly saved many lives. Poverty traps prevented those most in need from availing of this form of relief, however. Cross-county data show that the ratio of emigration to deaths was higher in richer than in poorer counties. Another key feature of the Famine emigration was that it was irreversible. The Famine thus had a permanent impact on Ireland's population in a transitory fashion. Famine emigration spurred post-Famine emigration by eliminating poverty traps; the result was a sustained decline in the Irish population, and a convergence of living standards both within Ireland and between Ireland and the rest of the world.
Between 1870 and 1913 economic convergence among present OECD members (or an even wider sample of countries) was dramatic, about as dramatic as it has been over the past century and a half. What were the sources of the convergence? One prime candidate is mass migration. This paper offers some estimates which suggest that migration could account for very large shares of the convergence in labour productivity and real wages, though a much smaller share in GDP per capita. One might conclude, therefore, that virtual cessation of convergence in the interwar period could be partially explained by the imposition of quotas and other barriers to migration.
The exportation of labourers and capital from old to new countries, from a place where their productive power is less to a place where it is greater, increases by so much the aggregate produce of wealth of the old and the new country.… Colonization, in the present state of the world, is the best affair of business, in which the capital of an old and wealthy country can engage.
–John Stuart MillMill (1929 )
It must be emphasized that without the change in the proportions of the factors of production that occurs as a result of migration or population growth, differences in factor prices in various countries will persist, and the factors of production of the world as a whole will not be used to their best advantage.
–Eli F. HeckscherFlam and Flanders (1991, 59). Heckscher understood that with impediments to trade or with specialization outside cones of diversification (a failure of ‘harmonic equilibrium’, in his words), factor price convergence would be incomplete and factor migration necessary to obtain factor price equalization.
This paper challenges the widely held view that tariff protection was the major factor in explaining the poor performance of Spanish agriculture in the half century prior to the 1936 Civil War. After examining the general level of tariffs, it is argued that these were not sufficient in themselves to explain either the poor diets or weak demand for manufactured goods. Secondly, farmers were slow to switch resources out of cereals, not so much because of the tariffs, but rather because of the limited export opportunities for alternative crops, especially olive oil and wine. Finally, the evidence suggests that those areas which saw a significant increase in the area of cereals were just as likely to see a decline in the agricultural population as those that did not, suggesting that the rural exodus was determined by factors other than the tariff.
Trade policy constitutes one of the most important chapters in any economic history account of the early years of this century. To assess its impact on the economic development of individual countries we need comparative measures of protection at the sectoral level. This paper offers what appears to be the first attempt to construct such measures for 1913 based on the Heckscher-Ohlin trade model. It uses a newly constructed data set on net trade flows and factor endowments covering fourteen ‘old world’ and four ‘new world’ economies. In contrast to previous studies, the measures suggested here are, first, objective in the sense of not attempting to classify a priori the trade regime of some country based only on its tariff legislation. Second, they reflect all types of trade interventions. Third, they are constructed as continuous measures. Finally, and most importantly, they are comparable across countries and sectors.
This paper surveys recent scholarship on the economic growth of Europe during its Golden Age, 1950–73, as represented by three recent collections of essays. The essays generally agree that rapid economic growth in the Golden Age originated in reconstruction from World War II. They explore several different arguments to explain why the Golden Age continued after reconstruction was complete and use a variety of economic tools to argue that the Golden Age was a transitory historical phenomenon. There is far more agreement on the origins of the Golden Age than on its demise. I suggest that insights from new growth theory are limited and that the end of the Golden Age may have been brought about by the ‘shock’ of restrictive monetary policies used to combat inflation after the oil crises of the 1970s.