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The economics of Edwardian imperial preference: what can New Zealand reveal?

Brian Varian

Economic History Working Papers from London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History

Abstract: In the Edwardian era, the British Dominions adopted policies of imperial preference, amid a period of rising imports from the United States and industrial Continental Europe. Hitherto, there has been no econometric assessment of whether these policies produced an intra-Empire trade diversion, as intended. This paper focuses on New Zealand’s initial policy of imperial preference, codified in the Preferential and Reciprocal Trade Act of 1903. New Zealand’s policy was unique insofar as it extended preference to only certain commodities. Using a commodity panel regression, this paper exploits the cross-commodity variation in the extension of preference, but finds no statistically significant effect of preference on either the Empire share or, specifically, the British share of New Zealand’s imports. This finding is corroborated by an alternative empirical approach involving propensity-score matching.

Keywords: Imperial preference; tariffs; trade; empire; Britain; New Zealand (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H1 N25 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hpe and nep-int
Date: 2018-06
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ehl:wpaper:88298

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