Early globalizations: The integration of Asia in the world economy, 1800-1938

David Chilosi, Giovanni Federico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper contributes to the debate on globalization and the great divergence with a comprehensive analysis of the integration of Asia in the world market from 1800 to the eve of World War II. We examine the patterns of convergence in prices for a wide range of commodities between Europe and the main Asian countries (India, Indonesia, Japan and China) and we compare them with convergence between Europe and the East Coast of the United States, hitherto the yardstick for the 19th century. Most price convergence occurred before 1870, mainly as a consequence of the abolition of the European trading monopolies with Asia, and, to a lesser extent, the repeal of duties on Atlantic trade. After 1870, price differentials continued to decline thanks to falling freights and to better communication after the lay-out of telegraph cables. There was only little disintegration in the inter-war years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalExplorations in Economic History
StatePublished - 2015


  • Asia
  • Economic growth
  • Globalization
  • International trade
  • Market integration
  • Nineteenth century

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics


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