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Balance sheets for the acquisition, retention and loss of european empires overseas

Patrick K. O'Brien and Leandro Prados de la Escosura ()

IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to assessing the costs and benefits for Europeans from their empires overseas over five centuries, in particular, the net economic gains from empire over the long 19th century when mercantilism was replaced by free trade and over the period of reintegration and de-colonisation brought by the two World Wars. Paradoxically while empires were growing, empires were at best economically irrelevant for European long run growth in a free trade world. The post-1914 era shows that the benefits from imperial trading blocs were suboptimal solutions compared to open international trade.

Keywords: Imperialism; European; development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1998-12
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