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The Balance of Trade

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Chapter Summary

This chapter estimates the overall worth of the international trade flows, in order to provide a contextual framework for the study of individual sectors. It focuses on the complex relation between international trade and the development of the Austrian Netherlands in the second half of the eighteenth century. Within the brief overview of economic historiography on the Austrian Netherlands, there were some authors who also made statements on the balance of trade. One of the recurring themes in the discussions on trade history is how to make an acceptable and effective reconstruction of historical trade flows. A possible approach to provide a macroeconomic framework to the eighteenth-century trade flows starts from a different angle than traditional national accounts calculations. By comparing the customs statistics to trade data from other countries or regions, the method provides a sort of proxy for revealing comparative advantages within an economy.

Keywords: Austrian Netherlands; customs statistics; economic historiography; international trade flows

10.1163/9789004272606_007
/content/books/b9789004272606s007
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