Proposal preview

Networks, Intensity, Extensive Margins of Trade since 19th Century: New approaches of Globalization with large Databases

This session is designed to analyze how the development of large database in international trade (in terms of countries, periods of time, products at a very disaggregated level…) revisits traditional issues associated with the process of globalization.
Many economic history papers dealing with trade globalization in the long term have been produced for about 40 years (Bairoch (1974), Norheim-Anderson (1993), Chase Dunn et al. (2000), Findlay-O’Rourke (2006), Head (2015), World Trade Atlas (2015)).
Our session will be mainly based on new large historical databases dealing with international Trade are being developed: The RiCardo and the Montesquieu databases.
The RICardo project was initiated at Sciences Po (France) in 2004 with the aim of creating a large dataset of historical bilateral trade statistics available to the research community from 1792 to 1938.
The Montesquieu Databasis was intiated at Bordeaux University in 2010 in order to create a dataset of bilateral trade flows at a very disaggregated level (SITC 3 and 5) from 1836 to 1938.
In these databases, variables are more numerous (Trade flows, geographical information, diversity and quality of the products…): does it bring something new from a scientific point of view? What does the recent development of large databases bring to this work? To what extent, more extensive data enable to reconsider the process of globalization and the process of specialization? Does this kind of databases allow to reconsider trade policy and its implications? Can we bring out a new way to present and understand trade globalization in the long term through network analysis?
To answer these questions several papers will be presented:
Christopher Meissner uses disaggregated trade data in order to revisit links between US Industrialization and Trade in the 19th Century.
Beatrice Dedinger and Samuel Maveyraud offer an analysis of geographical and historical structure of Trade by continent over the period 1834-2014. This work relies on a database of annual bilateral exports of the countries in the world built from the RiCardo, DOTS and IMF IFS databases.
M. Ángeles Serrano presents the World Trade Atlas 1870-2013, a collection of annual world trade maps in which distance combines economic size and the different dimensions that affect international trade beyond mere geography. Trade distances, which are based on a gravity model predicting the existence of significant trade channels, are such that the closer countries are in trade space, the greater their chance of becoming connected. The atlas provides with information regarding the long-term evolution of the international trade system and demonstrates that, in terms of trade, the world is not flat but hyperbolic, as a reflection of its complex architecture.
Stéphane Becuwe analyzes intra-industry trade between France and its main partners and thus revisits the geographic determinants of intra-industry trade dynamics in terms of GDP/capita, similarities of factor endowments, the impact of trade policy,…
Giovanni Federico and Antonio Tena-Junguito compare the wave of globalization before the outbreak of the Great Recession in 2007 with its alleged historical antecedent before the outbreak of World War One. We describe trends in trade and openness, estimate the gains from trade and investigate the proximate causes of the growth of openness. We argue that the conventional wisdom has to be revised.
Jules Hugot with Michel Fouquin provide an assessment of the nineteenth century trade globalization based on a systematic collection of bilateral trade statistics. Drawing on a new data set of more than 1.9 million bilateral trade observations for the 1827-2014 period, we show that international trade costs fell more rapidly than intra-national trade costs from the 1840s until the eve of World War I.
Bertrand Blancheton, Stéphane Becuwe, Samuel Maveyraud analyze the exports diversification dynamics during first globalization through a network analysis of intensive margins and extensive margins of bilateral trade.


  • Stéphane Becuwe, University of Bordeaux (France),, France
  • Concha Betran, University of Valencia (Spain),, Spain

Session members

  • Bertrand Blancheton, University of Bordeaux,
  • Giovanni Federico, University of Pisa,
  • Christopher Meissner, University of Davies,
  • Samuel Maveyraud, University of Bordeaux,
  • Giorgio Fagiolo, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna,
  • Marian Angeles Serrano, University of Barcelona,
  • Béatrice Dedinger, SciencePo,
  • Jules Hugot, P.U. Javeriana, Bogotá,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Concha Betran, University of Valencia,
  • Christopher Meissner, University of Davies,