NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Xin Wang

University of Colorado Boulder
Room 307, Economics Building
256 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0256

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2015Capital Markets in China and Britain, 18th and 19th Century: Evidence from Grain Prices
with Wolfgang Keller, Carol H. Shiue: w21349
Does the difference in capital market development between major advanced economies during the 18th and 19th centuries explain the subsequent divergence in their income levels? We employ a storage model to obtain regional interest rates from monthly grain price changes, and we compare the integration of capital markets in Britain and China. The first step is to validate the approach by showing that grain price-based interest rates match salient features of the 19th century U.S. capital market. Our analysis using almost 20,000 new interest rates reveals that Britain’s rates were lower than China’s, even compared to China’s more developed areas, although not by a large margin. The regional integration of capital markets in Britain was substantially higher than in China, however, indicating lo...
 
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