Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The anatomy of a trade collapse: The UK, 1929-33

Author(s): Alan de Bromhead, Alan Fernihough, Markus Lampe and Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke

Publication Date: January 2018

Keyword(s): Great Depression, great recession, protectionism and Trade

Programme Area(s): Economic History and International Trade and Regional Economics

Abstract: A recent literature explores the nature and causes of the collapse in international trade during 2008 and 2009. The decline was particularly great for automobiles and industrial supplies; it occurred largely along the intensive margin; quantities fell by more than prices; and prices fell less for differentiated products. Do these stylised facts apply to trade collapses more generally? This paper uses detailed, commodityspecific information on UK imports between 1929 and 1933, to see to what extent the trade collapses of the Great Depression and Great Recession resembled each other. It also compares the free trading trade collapse of 1929-31 with the protectionist collapse of 1931-3, to see to what extent protection, and gradual recovery from the Great Depression, mattered for UK trade patterns.

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Bibliographic Reference

de Bromhead, A, Fernihough, A, Lampe, M and O'Rourke, K. 2018. 'The anatomy of a trade collapse: The UK, 1929-33'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.