We gratefully acknowledge comments by and discussions with Lee Alston, Chris Blattman, David Greasley, Bob Gregory, Jason Hwang, Tim Hatton, David Jacks, Andrew Leigh, Ian McLean, David Merrett, Kevin O'Rourke, Martin Shanahan, Peter Timmer, participants at the conference on Australian Economic History, Canberra (March 26-27, 2009), and two anonymous referees.
COMMODITY PRICE SHOCKS AND THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY SINCE FEDERATION*
Article first published online: 4 JUL 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Australian Economic History Review© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand
Australian Economic History Review
Volume 51, Issue 2, pages 150–177, July 2011
How to Cite
BHATTACHARYYA, S. and WILLIAMSON, J. G. (2011), COMMODITY PRICE SHOCKS AND THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY SINCE FEDERATION. Australian Economic History Review, 51: 150–177. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8446.2011.00328.x
- Issue published online: 4 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 4 JUL 2011
- Australian economy;
- commodity exports;
- price shocks
Australia has experienced frequent and large commodity export price shocks similar to commodity exporters in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but this price volatility has had much more modest impact on economic performance. Why? This paper explores Australian terms of trade volatility since 1901. It identifies two major price shock episodes before the recent mining-led boom and bust. It assesses their relative magnitude, their impact on de-industrialisation and distribution during the booms, and the labour market and policy responses to the shocks. Australia has indeed responded differently to volatile commodity prices than have other commodity exporters.