Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 493762
Title An Economic Rationale for the African Scramble. The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1845-1885. NBER Working Paper 21213
Author(s) Frankema, E.H.P.; Williamson, J.G.; Woltjer, P.J.
Source Cambridge MA : National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER Working Paper 21213)
DOI https://doi.org/10.3386/w21213
Department(s) Rural and Environmental History
WASS
Publication type Working paper aimed at scientific audience
Publication year 2015
Abstract This is the first study to present a unified quantitative account of African commodity trade in the long 19th century from the zenith of the Atlantic slave trade (1790s) to the eve of World War II (1939). Drawing evidence from a new dataset on export and import prices, volumes, composition and net barter terms of trade for five African regions, we show that Sub-Saharan Africa experienced a terms of trade boom that was comparable to other parts of the ‘global periphery’ from the late 18th century up to the mid-1880s, with an exceptionally sharp price boom in the four decades before the Berlin conference (1845-1885). We argue that this commodity price boom changed the economic context in favor of a European scramble for Africa. We also show that the accelerated export growth after the establishment of colonial rule deepened Africa’s specialization in primary commodities, even though the terms of trade turned into a prolonged decline after 1885.
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