Brazilian export growth and divergence in the tropics during the nineteenth century Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2016

start page

  • 677

end page

  • 706


  • 4


  • 48

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-216X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-767X


  • The objective of this article is to reappraise both the accuracy of the official export statistics and the narrative of Brazilian export growth during the period immediately following independence. We undertake an accuracy test of the official values of Brazilian export statistics and find evidence of considerable under-valuation. Once corrected, during the post-independence decades (1821-50) Brazil's current exports represented a larger share of its economy and its constant growth is found to be more dynamic than any other period of the nineteenth century. We posit that this dynamism was related to an exogenous institutional shock in the form of British West Indies slave emancipation that afforded Brazil a competitive advantage.


  • Sociology


  • brazil; export growth; accuracy; tropics; nineteenth century; slavery; market