The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Terms of Trade and Economic Development

  • H. W. Singer
Reference work entry


One of the most widely discussed theories concerning the terms of trade of developing countries is the Prebisch–Singer hypothesis, independently published in 1950 (Prebisch 1950; Singer 1950). This hypothesis proclaimed a structural tendency for the terms of trade of developing countries to deteriorate in their dealings with industrial countries. In the original form this related mainly to the terms of trade between primary commodities and manufactured goods from the industrial countries. The historical statistical basis was an analysis of British terms of trade during the period 1873–1938 which corresponded to this image of exports of manufactured goods in exchange for primary commodities.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. W. Singer
    • 1
  1. 1.