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Institutions And The Environment: Shipping Movements In The North Sea/Baltic Zone, 1650–1800

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Chapter Summary

The changing history of northern Europe's bulk trades needs to be understood as part of a broader regional story in which two major themes emerge through the period 1650-1800: the shift in the economic centre of gravity from Amsterdam to London facilitated by the restructuring of the North Sea-Baltic trading system. The benefits involved may be summarised as a series of four developments which in different ways contributed to improvements in total factor productivity within the shipping industry. The first pair relate to location, the physical environment and the resource base out of which trade patterns evolved. The second pair relate to institutional aspects. First, relocation of sources of supply, especially of bulk products on local peripheries. Second, diversification of commodity trade and extension of the region's trade networks. Third, improvements in insurance facilities and naval protection, which reduced risk. Fourth, closer connections between trade and shipping across the region.

Keywords: 1650-1800; Amsterdam; bulk trades; institutional aspects; London; North Sea-Baltic trading; shipping



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