Land, Labor and Globalization in the Pre-Industrial Third World

Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Working Paper No. 7784
Issued in July 2000
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, International Trade and Investment

A Third World data base documenting commodity and factor prices 1870-1940 has been collected, yielding annual time series on wage/rental ratios, land/labor ratios, the terms of trade, and other explanatory variables for: Argentina, Burma, Egypt, Japan, Korea, the Punjab, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay. These 9 have been added to a previously-collected data base for 10 in the so-called greater Atlantic economy: Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the USA. These 19 countries form the panel data base which is used to explore the determinants of wage/rental ratios the world round between 1870 and 1940. The data offer a useful way to identify the impact of globalization on the pre-industrial Third World. This paper finds commodity price convergence to have been bigger in the Third World than the Atlantic economy. It also identifies the sources of a previously-unnoticed but enormous convergence in wage/rental ratios. Commodity price convergence and factor supply responses appear to be an important source of the relative factor price convergence in the Third World, more clearly exposed by the absence of significant industrialization and capital-deepening forces there prior to 1940.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7784

Published: Williamson, Jeffrey G. "Land, Labor, And Globalization In The Third World, 1870-1940," Journal of Economic History, 2002, v62(1,Mar), 55-85.

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