The Journal of Economic History

Papers Presented at the Fiftieth Annual Meeting of the Economic History Association

Burn Everything British but their Coal: the Anglo-Irish Economic War of the 1930s

Kevin O'Rourkea1

a1 The author is Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027


The Anglo-Irish Economic War of 1932 to 1938 was eventually settled on terms highly favorable to the Irish. This article uses a computational general equilibrium model of the interwar Irish economy to argue that the welfare costs of the war were not so great as has been thought, and that the dispute helped de Valera electorally. These considerations help explain the eventual Irish “victory” in the Economic War.