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Assessing trade in the mercantilist era: evidence from a new database on foreign trade of Sweden – Finland, 1738–1805
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations. Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
2018 (English)In: Scandinavian Economic History Review, ISSN 0358-5522, E-ISSN 1750-2837, Vol. 66, no 3, p. 226-245Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a newly constructed database on foreign trade of Sweden–Finland 1738–1805, consisting of all exports and imports that were recorded by the custom houses in this period, and is made available at www.historia.se/Swedish foreign trade 1738_1805.xlsx. The traditional view as presented by Eli Heckscher, who was very critical of the mercantilist policies of the time, was that the overseas trade of Sweden-Finland saw a trend of secular stagnation during the course of the eighteenth century. By contrast, we show that in conjunction with a substantial expansion of the population, total trade nearly increased twofold during the period of study. Despite that, there was a small decrease in the value of exports in relation to GDP, mostly explained by a drop in the relative price of bar iron. The degree of specialisation of Swedish exports saw a declining tendency in this period. While exports from Sweden had a higher degree of specialisation than Finnish exports, imported goods to Finland were more concentrated than Swedish imports. Lastly, the composition of imports did not markedly alter, meaning that a consumer revolution did not take place in either Sweden or Finland.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 66, no 3, p. 226-245
Keywords [en]
Trade, economic nationalism, economic development, economic history, Sweden, Finland
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164849DOI: 10.1080/03585522.2018.1516234ISI: 000457591600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164849DiVA, id: diva2:1280521
Available from: 2019-01-19 Created: 2019-01-19 Last updated: 2019-03-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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Output format
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