Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 5/2016: Shipping in dire straits: New evidence on trends and cycles in coal freights from Britain, 1919-1939.

Jan Tore Klovland ()
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Jan Tore Klovland: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: New monthly freight rate indices for 13 coal trade routes from Britain 1919-1939 are presented. The new indices form the basis of a review of the interwar freight markets and their relationship to the timing and severity of general business cycles. New time series of laid-up tonnage provide the background for this discussion. The Great Depression starting in the autumn of 1929 created a shipping cycle of unusual length and severity. Real freight rate indices used as a cross-check on productivity gains in shipping raise some doubt on previous estimates of productivity growth in British shipping in the interwar years.

Keywords: Freight markets; business cycles.

JEL-codes: D24; N14; N74

44 pages, March 30, 2016

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