American exceptionalism as a problem in global history

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The causes of the United States' exceptional economic performance are investigated by comparing American wages and prices with wages and prices in Great Britain, Egypt, and India. American industrialization in the nineteenth century required tariff protection since the country's comparative advantage lay in agriculture. After 1895 surging American productivity shifted the country's comparative advantage to manufacturing. Egypt and India could not have industrialized by following American policies since their wages were so low and their energy costs so high that the modern technology that was cost effective in Britain and the United States would not have paid in their circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-350
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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