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This website contains annual series of trade by polity from 1800 to 1938 which sum as series for continent and world. Please feel free download and use the data but quote as: Federico, G. and Tena-Junguito A. (2019): World trade, 1800-1938: a new synthesis. Revista de Historia Económica-Journal of Iberian and Latin America Economic History, Vol 37, n.1.

We started this joint project in June 2009 out of our realization that there was a huge gap in our knowledge. The available series of world trade covered mostly the advanced world and were hopelessly outdated as they did not take into account all the research on foreign trade of the last thirty years. In contrast, our data-set uses all the most recent research we are aware of and covers almost all polities (independent countries and colonies) in the world after 1850, with few and irrelevant exceptions - mostly independent trade hubs such as Malta or Hong-Kong. After 1850, the number of polities varies only according to changes in political boundaries, such as the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. In contrast, in the first half of the 19 th century the coverage increases progressively, from 12 polities (9 from imports) in 1800 to 62 in 1823 to 89 in 1830. For each polity we estimate series of imports and exports at current and constant prices (in 1913 dollars), both at current and 1913 borders. You can find a description of general criteria, as well as a discussion of the reliability of the data and a comparison with previous  estimates, in WP (Federico and Tena 2016). This text reports also details on our first estimation of polity series, which was completed in 2014. Since then, we have revised some series to correct errors and to take into account new research made available to us in the meanwhile. You will find the information on these new estimates in the file Revised estimates… We will continue to update the series in the future. Thus and thus we will be very grateful to be notified of any new relevant work (e.g. series, price indexes etc.) by the author or by any-one else who is aware of it. We would welcome also suggestions to improve the polity series. We plan to release our next batch of corrections in October 2020.

The data-base provides individual files with all the eight series we have estimated for each polity. As a rule, we use the historical name rather than the modern one which we report anyway whenever possible (a full list of polities and their modern counterparts is available in List of policies. We also reproduce the series by polity in summary files by continent and the series by continent in a file for the whole world. This latter includes an index of world exports, which is our best measure of the long-term growth of world trade at constant prices. Exports measures the value of trade more accurately than imports, as these latter include also the transportation costs. Thus, we compute our index after 1850 as sum of all series of trade by polity at constant prices. Before 1850, this procedure would yield biased results, as trade would spuriously increase any time a polity series is added to the data-base. We obtain the World index by extrapolating backward the level of exports in 1850 to 1800 with constant-composition indexes for 1830-1850, 1823- 1830 and 1811-1822. The included polities accounted respectively for 61.9, 81.5 and 95.7 of world trade in 1850 – and thus the overall index can be considered representative until 1823 and highly representative thereafter of trends in total trade. We also estimate world trade at constant (1913) borders: the comparison with the parallel series at current borders is a (unavoidably imperfect) measure of the impact of boundary changes, especially after World War One, on trade.