NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Open Economy Forces and Late 19th Century Scandinavian Catch-Up

Kevin O'Rourke, Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Working Paper No. 5112
Issued in May 1995
NBER Program(s):   DAE

Scandinavia recorded very high growth rates between 1870 and 1914, catching up with the leaders. This paper estimates that about two-thirds of the Scandinavian catching up on Britain was due to the open economy forces of global factor and commodity market integration. All of the Scandinavian catching up on America was due to the same open economy forces. The question for the economist is: Why does the new growth theory spend so little time dealing with these open economy forces? The question for the economic historian is: Can the breakdown of global factor and commodity markets after 1914 explain a large share of the cessation of convergence up to 1950? Can the spectacular OECD convergence achieved after 1950 be explained by the resumption of the pre-1914 open economy conditions that contributed so much to Scandinavian catch-up?

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5112

Published: "Open Economy Forces and Late 19th Century Swedish Catch-Up: A Quantitative Accounting," Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. XLIII no. 2 (1995):pp. 171-203.

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