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How much trade liberalization was there in the world before and after Cobden-Chevalier?

By Antonio Tena Junguito, Markus Lampe and Felipe Tâmega

Abstract

The Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860 is regarded as central turning point in nineteenth-century trade policy, inaugurating a free trade era in Western Europe. We reexamine this story and put it into global perspective with a new database covering more than 7,500 data points for 11categories of manufactures in 41 countries and colonies around the world between 1846 and 1880. It reveals that bilateralism after 1860 reinforced a process already underway before. Nevertheless, we highlight is that trade liberalization was a global phenomenon over most of our period, so that the prominent British case appears as typical rather than exceptional.International trade, World commercial policy, World tariff history, Protectionism, Liberalization, Cobden-Chevalier

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