Discussion paper

DP16014 Four great Asian trade collapses

This paper introduces a new dataset of commodity-specific, bilateral import data for four large Asian economies in the interwar period: China, the Dutch East Indies, India, and Japan. It uses these data to describe the interwar trade collapses in the economies concerned. These resembled the post-2008 Great Trade Collapse in some respects but not in others: they occurred along the intensive margin, imports of cars were particularly badly affected, and imports of durable goods fell by more than those of non-durables, except in China and India which were rapidly industrializing. On the other hand the import declines were geographically imbalanced, while prices were more important than quantities in driving the overall collapse.


de Bromhead, A, A Fernihough, M Lampe and K O'Rourke (2021), ‘DP16014 Four great Asian trade collapses‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16014. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16014