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A Century of Missing Trade?

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  • Antoni Estevadeordal
  • Alan M. Taylor

Abstract

In contemporary data, the measured factor content of trade is far smaller than its predicted magnitude in the pure Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek framework, the so-called 'missing trade' mystery. We wonder if this problem has been there from the beginning: that is, we ask if the Heckscher-Ohlin theory was so much at odds with reality at its time of conception. We apply contemporary tests to historical data, focusing on the major trading zone that inspired the factor abundance theory, the Old and New Worlds of the pre-1914 'Greater Atlantic' economy. This places our analysis in a very different context than contemporary studies: an era with lower trade barriers, higher transport costs, a more skewed global distribution of the relevant factors (especially land), and comparably large productivity divergence. These conditions might seem more favorable to the theory, but the results are still very poor.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 92 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 383-393

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:1:p:383-393

Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802760015801
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References

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  1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1988. "International Finance," NBER Working Papers 2077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in the Factor Content of Trade: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 155-160, May.
  3. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1992. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets Since 1830 Background Evidence and Hypotheses," NBER Historical Working Papers 0036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1423-1453, December.
  5. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra56-1, octubre-d.
  6. Dalia Hakura, 1999. "A Test of the General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem for Trade in the European Community," IMF Working Papers 99/70, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Hakura, Dalia S., 2001. "Why does HOV fail?: The role of technological differences within the EC," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 361-382, August.
  8. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
  9. repec:fth:michin:435 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Harry P. Bowen & Edward E. Leamer & Leo Sveikauskas, 1986. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," NBER Working Papers 1918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. O'Rourke, Kevin & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1994. "Late Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Factor-Price Convergence: Were Heckscher and Ohlin Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 892-916, December.
  12. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592.
  13. Leamer, Edward E, 1980. "The Leontief Paradox, Reconsidered," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 495-503, June.
  14. Susan Chun Zhu & Daniel Trefler, 2000. "Beyond the Algebra of Explanation: HOV for the Technology Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 145-149, May.
  15. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
  16. Elhanan Helpman, 1999. "The Structure of Foreign Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
  17. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Chapters, in: Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870, pages 1-23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  19. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  20. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Eric O'N. Fisher & Sharon L. May, 2006. "Relativity in Trade Theory: Towards a Solution to the Mystery of Missing Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 1818, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Globalization, Trade, and Development: Some Lessons From History," NBER Working Papers 9326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2004. "Trading Population for Productivity," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410001, EconWPA.
  4. Antoni Estevadeordal & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Testing Trade Theory in Ohlin's Time," NBER Working Papers 8842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1143-1179.
  6. Yun-kwong Kwok, 2004. "Global Factor Trade with Differentiated Factor Prices and Factor Intensities," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 259, Econometric Society.
  7. Lundmark, Robert, 2010. "European trade in forest products and fuels," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-251, August.
  8. Daniel Trefler, 2002. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 405-410, March.

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