The impact of a customs union: the lessons of intra-Australian trade matrices before and after Federation

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Trade & Development Seminars

Date & time

Tuesday 24 October 2017


Coombs Seminar Room C, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


William Coleman, ANU.

The impacts on Australia’s trade relations of the creation in 1901 of a customs union of the Australian states has yet to be extensively investigated. This paper serves a wider investigation of this topic by undertaking a key piece of groundwork: it prepares matrices of trade flows between each of the Australian states—and between each state and abroad—for each year from the late 1890s to 1910. A variety of normalisations of the matrix entries are conducted which assist in drawing inferences from the data. The relatively inductive method proves suggestive of a range of (consistent) hypotheses regarding the impact of Federation in fostering intra-Australian trade, and in inhibiting Australian international trade.

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