Discussion paper

DP12626 The anatomy of a trade collapse: The UK, 1929-33

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.


O'Rourke, K, A de Bromhead, A Fernihough and M Lampe (2018), ‘DP12626 The anatomy of a trade collapse: The UK, 1929-33‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12626. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp12626