Regional Disintegration in South Asia: Evidence from the end of the British Empire on Maritime Networks


Kenmei Tsubota (Toyo University)
Tuesday 21 July 2020 at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm (Hong Kong time, GMT +8)
Zoom (registration closed)


In the early 20th century, the British Empire primarily governed South Asia, and these regions shared similar administrations, institutions and commercial practices. After the Second World War, decolonization in South Asia became evident through the partition of India and countries gaining independence. These subsequent events can be seen as regional disintegration, and they offer a potential scope for examining the impacts of such institutional changes on maritime transport networks. By examining a new database detailing vessel movement between South Asian ports and the rest of the world from 1890 to 2000, we explore how maritime transport networks evolved in South Asia. Specifically, we compare the trends of shipping routes among ports before and after 1947. Applying the methodology developed by Redding, Sturm, and Wolf (2011) and Xu and Itoh (2017), we show that regional disintegration clearly lowered vessel movements for the routes that became international after 1947. Additionally, we examine two points; relationship with UK, and the independence of Bangladesh. For most of the cases, we find significantly negative impacts on vessel movements directly affected by regional disintegration.

This webinar is part of a series of Zoom events that explores issues in growth and development in India. The series' academic committee consists of Takashi Kurosaki (Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study), Pushkar Maitra (Monash University and Sujata Visaria (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) .    

About the speaker

Kenmei Tsubota is Associate Professor at Faculty of Regional and Global Studies, Toyo University. He obtained his PhD from Kyoto University and worked at Institute of Developing Economies-JETRO until 2020. His research field is in Spatial Economics and Economic Development. He has worked on various issues such as regional (dis)integration, evolution of maritime trade networks, and human trafficking. His works appear in Economic Modelling, Developing Economies, Journal of Economic Geography and others.

See the discussion paper at

To Attend the Event

The event will take place on 21 July 2020 Tuesday at 11:30 am HKT == 1:30 pm AEST == 12:30 pm JST. (See corresponding times for different times zones).

The event will be held online via Zoom.  Please sign up here as part of our security measures, and the meeting details will be sent to you by email about one day in advance of the event.  Also see here for advice from the university's IT office on Zoom best practices for attendees.  


House Rules

  • We would like the webinar to be interactive. Please join with both audio and video whenever possible.
  • It is advised to mute yourself when you are not speaking. This prevents any distractions due to background noise.
  • Please rename yourself to your real name when entering the Zoom meeting.  
  • The chat function will be on, but the speaker may not see your chat message. Please consider raising your hand (blue hand button) or unmuting yourself to ask a question.
  • This talk will be recorded for internal use. 

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