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Some Doubts about the Economic Analysis of the Flow of Silver to China in 1550-1820

Jacques Melitz

Working Papers from CEPII research center

Abstract: The paper takes issue with the mainstream economic analysis of the enormous flow of silver into China in 1550-1820. First, I challenge the view that arbitrage between gold and silver in European trade with China was important except for one twenty-year spell. Next, I argue that had China imported gold, its history would have been much the same. I also dispute the idea that the persistence of the silver inflows from 1550 to 1820 implies any persistent disequilibrium, and I maintain that economic theory can easily accommodate the view that the inflow of silver into China sponsored growth in China.

Keywords: Silver Flows into China 1550-1820; Silver/Gold Exchange Rates; Transaction Costs in International Trade (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F36 F60 N1 N15 N25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna and nep-his
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Related works:
Journal Article: Some Doubts about the Economic Analysis of the Flow of Silver to China in 1550–1820 (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820 (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Some doubts about the economic analysis of the flow of silver to China in 1550-1820 (2017) Downloads
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