The analysis of interrelations between economic expansion and the terms of trade cannot boast of a long, uninterrupted history. Here and there one may come across a few scattered references to terms of trade in studies of the incidence of technological innovations on the growing country’s net gain from growth in the works of Mill , Edgeworth , Bastable  and Ohlin ; of the desirability of the policy of protection in the wake of technical improvements in what is known as the German tariff controversy;† of the celebrated transfer problem sparked primarily by Thornton  and Hume  and subsequently resurrected by Taussig  and Keynes  (in the famous debate over the German reparations problem); finally, of the impact of international capital movements featuring in the works of Fanno , Iverson  and Ohlin . But the avowed application of the tools of general equilibrium analysis to the diagnosis of the behaviour of the terms of trade consequent upon growth is only a post-war phenomenon. Whatever ingenuity the problem of shifts in inter-country commodity prices elicited from the economist in the pre-war era was, with a few exceptions,‡ incidental; it arose not because of an interest in the application of economic theory to the problem of economic development, which itself never figured prominently in neo-classical writings, but was due to the economist’s preoccupation with some other issues of current importance wherein considerations of the terms of trade were unavoidable.
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- Economic Expansion and the Terms of Trade
Raveendra N. Batra
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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