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WHY DID THE MEDITERRANEAN FAIL TO GLOBALISE? REAL WAGES AND LABOUR MARKET INTEGRATION IN THE 19TH CENTURY*

  • Paul Caruana-Galizia (a1)

Abstract

Can low emigration rates from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic economy partly explain its relative economic decline over the 19th century? Time series tests of real wage integration show that the Maghreb and Eastern Mediterranean exported enough labourers to experience labour market integration, while the emigration rates of the northern Mediterranean, were not high enough. As the latter group comprised most of the region’s economic weight, the Mediterranean as a whole was held back. The wage gap between the first two groups and the Atlantic economy was the highest, but journey costs relative to wage levels were roughly similar across the Mediterranean. The incentive-vs.-cost arithmetic favoured emigration from the Maghreb and Eastern Mediterranean.

¿Pueden las bajas tasas de emigración del Mediterráneo en la economía atlántica explicar en parte su declive económico a lo largo del siglo XIX? Los test de series temporales de integración de salarios reales muestran que los países del Magreb y del Mediterráneo oriental exportaron trabajadores suficientes para experimentar integración en los mercados de trabajo; sin embargo, las tasas de emigración de los países del Norte del Mediterráneo no fueron lo suficientemente elevadas. Como este segundo grupo representaba el mayor peso económico de la región, el conjunto del Mediterráneo se resintió. El diferencial salarial entre los dos primeros grupos y la economía atlántica fue uno de los más elevados, pero el coste del transporte en relación a los niveles salariales era más o menos similar en todo el Mediterráneo. El cálculo «incentivo frente a coste’ favoreció la emigración de los países del Magreb y del Mediterráneo oriental.

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This paper is based on my forthcoming book, Mediterranean Labor Markets in the First Age of Globalization: An Economic History of Real Wages and Market Integration. The author thank Peter Lindert, Blanca Sanchez-Alonso, and Jeffrey Williamson for their comments on an early version of the manuscript, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments. While at LSE, the author was funded by a UK Economic and Social Research Council Studentship and an EU-Malta Steps Doctoral Scholarship.

a

Department of Economic History, London School of Economics, Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom; Marie Curie Early-Career Fellow School of Business and Economics; Humboldt University of Berlin Spandauer Strasse 1, 10435 Berlin, Germany. caruanap@hu-berlin.de

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WHY DID THE MEDITERRANEAN FAIL TO GLOBALISE? REAL WAGES AND LABOUR MARKET INTEGRATION IN THE 19TH CENTURY*

  • Paul Caruana-Galizia (a1)

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