The Panopticon of Germany's Foreign Trade, 1880-1913. New Facts on the First Globalization

61 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2021

See all articles by Wolf-Fabian Hungerland

Wolf-Fabian Hungerland

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nikolaus Wolf

Humboldt University of Berlin

Date Written: March 1, 2021

Abstract

Between 1871 and 1914 Germany became the second largest exporter in the world, just behind the UK. In this paper, we present and analyze the panopticon of Germany's foreign trade expansion before the First World War. Our new data covers historical trade data in terms of imports and exports of all traded products, all trade partners and both quantities and values of trade, at annual frequency for the years 1880 to 1913. To allow for comparisons over time and in the cross-section, historical product categories are re-classified according to the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC). This granular data reveals three new insights. First, nearly all trade growth before 1914 took place along the extensive margin, in line with trade models based on within-sector heterogeneity. Second, a substantial share of foreign trade before 1914 was intra-industry, measured at five-digit SITC classification. Third, by 1914 Germany had firmly established a dominant international position in chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, particularly within Europe. We argue that this has broader implications for our understanding of the First Globalization.

JEL Classification: F14, N70, N73

Suggested Citation

Hungerland, Wolf-Fabian and Wolf, Nikolaus, The Panopticon of Germany's Foreign Trade, 1880-1913. New Facts on the First Globalization (March 1, 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15988, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3816877

Wolf-Fabian Hungerland (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Nikolaus Wolf

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

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