Commodity Market Disintegration in the Interwar Period
Using data collected by the International Institute of Agriculture, we document the disintegration of international commodity markets between 1913 and 1938. There was dramatic disintegration during World War I, gradual reintegration during the 1920s, and then a very substantial disintegration after 1929. The period saw the unravelling of a great many of the integration gains of the 1870-1913 period. While increased transport costs certainly help to explain the wartime disintegration, they cannot explain the post-1929 increase in trade costs. Protectionism seems the most likely alternative candidate.
Work on this paper commenced while O'Rourke was a Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellow, and he thanks the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences for their generous financial support. Jacks gratefully acknowledges the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for research support. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
William Hynes & David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'rourke, 2012. "Commodity market disintegration in the interwar period," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 119-143, May. citation courtesy of