Discussion paper

DP12427 Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820

The paper takes issue with the mainstream economic analysis of the enormous flow of silver into China in 1550-1820. First, I challenge the view that arbitrage between gold and silver in European trade with China was important except for one twenty-year spell. Next, I argue that had China imported gold, its history would have been much the same. I also dispute the idea that the persistence of the silver inflows from 1550 to 1820 implies any persistent disequilibrium, and I maintain that economic theory can easily accommodate the view that the inflow of silver into China sponsored growth in China.

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Citation

MELITZ, J (2017), “DP12427 Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 12427. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12427