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SWEET BUSINESS: QUANTIFYING THE VALUE ADDED IN THE BRITISH COLONIAL SUGAR TRADE IN THE 18TH CENTURY*

  • Klas Rönnbäck (a1)

Abstract

There has been a lot of research into the economic contribution of the periphery to European economic development during the early modern era. This paper estimates quantitatively the value added in the sugar trade from the Caribbean to Britain in the 18th century. The trade generated a value equivalent to around 1 per cent of British gross domestic product (GDP) by the early 18th century, growing to 4 per cent of GDP a century later. The results show that the sugar trade constituted a dynamic and rapidly growing part of the British economy, most importantly the tertiary sector.

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The author would like to thank Gregory Clark and David Beck Ryden for generously sharing their data with me. The author would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers, as well as Herbert Klein, Antonio Tena-Junguito, Franklin Knight and other participants of the Second Conference of the Caribbean Economic History Association, for many constructive comments on a presentation of a previous draft of this paper.

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SWEET BUSINESS: QUANTIFYING THE VALUE ADDED IN THE BRITISH COLONIAL SUGAR TRADE IN THE 18TH CENTURY*

  • Klas Rönnbäck (a1)

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