Stephen Redding is Harold T. Shapiro 1964 Professor in Economics in the Economics Department and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. His research interest include, International trade and economic geography, and productivity and economic development.
We provide new theory and evidence on the distributional consequences of trade using the 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws and the subsequent New World Grain Invasion. We make use of a newly-created, spatially-disaggregated dataset on population, employment by sector, property values, and poor law payments (welfare transfers) for around 11,000 parishes in England and Wales from 1801–1901. Following this trade shock, we show that locations with high wheat suitability experience a decline in population, rural outmigration, structural transformation away from agriculture, increases in rural poverty, and sizable changes in property values, relative to locations with low wheat suitability. We develop a quantitative spatial model to account for these empirical ndings. We show that the model implies substantial income distributional consequences of this trade shock, both across factors of production, and across geographical locations within England and Wales.