Latin American exports during the first globalization: How statistical aggregation and standardization affect our understanding of trade

Data constraints shape the scope of historical research. The digitalization of data has expanded research approaches to better understand the past.
For instance, trade data can provide valuable insights into Latin American growth patterns in the late nineteenth century. During the “First Globalization,” Latin American exports were heavily focused on a few products and markets.
A new international trade diversification metric uses 1910 data on items and trading partners (SITC-rev2). Standardizing trade data raises problems regarding whether commodity specialization reduces diversification or is a statistical artifact.

Image courtesy of interviewee. December 1, 2023

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