Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Costs and Benefits, Prosperity, and Security, 1870–1914

Costs and Benefits, Prosperity, and Security, 1870–1914

(p.690) 30 Costs and Benefits, Prosperity, and Security, 1870–1914
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century

Avner Offer

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the economic thinking about the theory of British Empire, and goes on to evaluate the impact of trade, emigration, investment, governance, and defence on British balance sheets. The economics of Empire are informed by a few simple ideas, stated by Adam Smith and further developed by subsequent writers. Smith encompassed trade, investment, settlement, governance, and conquest into one comprehensive system of analysis. His fundamental insight was that Empire opened access to new economic opportunities. The impact of investment on Imperial trade is shown. Estimates of costs and benefits depend crucially on the imaginary alternative or counter-factual chosen as a benchmark for comparison. A description on the balance sheet of foreign investment, and the governance and security is given as well. The direct contribution of Empire to Britain was not entirely negligible, but in its absence British average incomes would still have been ahead of such contemporary first-rank economies as France and Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Keywords:   British Empire, costs, security, Imperial trade, emigration, investment, governance, defence

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .