Generating the Wealth of Nations 11: US Cotton Exports
This is a follow-up and addendum to the previous post. As Prof. Borland noted in the lecture, one of the things economists expect to happen in cases in which two countries have different resource endowments, this: If The US has abundant land and scarce labor, while the UK has (relatively) abundant labor and scarce land, the US will tend to specialize in the production of goods and services that are land-intensive, while the UK will tend to specialize in the production of goods and services that are labor-intensive.
In the US, that implies export specialization in agricultural products, and cotton was the single most important US export before the Civil War. As the following chart indicates, cotton's share of US exports grew from about 1/3 of total exports to nearly 60% of total exports from 1815 to 1860. This does suggest specialization according to relative resource abundance.
(Click to enlarge.)