First Cabin Fares from New York to the British Isles, 1826-1914

Brandon Dupont, Drew Keeling, Thomas Weiss

NBER Working Paper No. 22426
Issued in July 2016, Revised in December 2016
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy

We present a continuous time series on first cabin passenger fares for ocean travel from New York to the British Isles covering nearly a century of time. We discuss the conceptual and empirical difficulties of constructing such a time series, and examine the reasons for differences between the behavior of advertised fares and those based on passenger revenues. We find that while there are conceptual differences between these two measurements, as well as differences in the average values, the two generally moved in parallel, which means that the advertised fare series can serve as a reasonable proxy for movement of the revenue-based fares. We also find that advertised fares declined over time, roughly paralleling the drop in freight rates for U.S. bulk exports, until around 1890, but thereafter increased while freight rates continued to decline. We propose several hypotheses for this divergent behavior and suggest lines of future research.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22426

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Anderson, Brown, Charles, and Rees w22456 The Effect of Occupational Licensing on Consumer Welfare: Early Midwifery Laws and Maternal Mortality
Barth, Davis, Freeman, and Kerr w22432 Weathering the Great Recession: Variation in Employment Responses by Establishments and Countries
Rodrik w20935 Premature Deindustrialization
Abramitzky, Boustan, and Eriksson w22381 Cultural Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us