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Research activity

Research project / Germany's Commercial History since the 19th Century


This research is based on data progressively collected by Beatrice Dedinger on Germany's exterior commerce. Data of trade by products (exportations, imports, annual data since 1880, except the years of war and hyperinflation, about 130 products identified); data of trade by country (exportations and imports, annual data since 1880, except the years of war and hyperinflation, 50 to 150 partner countries depending on the periods). The analyses are based on quantified facts thanks to statistical indicators calculated on the long term. The econometric method can also be used when the statistical method reaches its limits.
This research project fits naturally into the idea of a "changing world" because of its historic approach to an economic phenomenon applied to a major country in the world.
There is currently no history, descriptive or analytical, about one of the biggest trading powers of the last hundred years. Most of the research done, historical and contemporary, explores Germany's external trade, but offers no analysis of the long-term German commercial phenomenon. This approach, in a large and multidimensional perspective, can show phenomena unknown or unfamiliar (ex: consequences of the 1870 war on Franco-German commercial relations), help to put so-called historical "facts" into perspective (ex: Germany was very protectionist during the end of the nineteenth century), and help to better understand ongoing processes (ex: consequences of European commercial integration on the exchanges between Germany and its trade partners).
The objective of this research is to make a coherent synthesis of Germany's commercial history with a multidisciplinary approach. From a historical perspective, this study aims to allow a much more objective approach than that of former French historians (influenced by Franco-German relations as they were); from an economic perspective, the study intends to use the German example to better understand the "keys" of commercial success which was always restored in spite of crises; from a political perspective, the study aims to understand the impact of the loss of sovereignty in trade granted in 1958 and consider lessons it can provide to the current process of commercial globalization.