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The Empirics of Comparative Advantage: Overcoming the Tyranny of Nonrefutability

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  • Daniel M. Bernhofen

Abstract

I assess the empirical evidence on comparative advantage. I argue that the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek (HOV) relationship is not a refutable general-equilibrium proposition. Consequently, the empirical Heckscher-Ohlin literature has been suffering from the tyranny of nonrefutability . The trade-governing principle of comparative advantage, the Ricardo-Haberler-Deardorff (RHD) theorem, yields a refutable general-equilibrium prediction about the pattern of international trade and allows for a theory-based assessment of the magnitude of the gains from trade. The recent experimental evidence on Japan's nineteenth-century opening-up to world trade provides a strong case for the hypothesis that comparative advantage governed Japan's international trade in its early trading years. The aggregate gains from that trade are estimated to be no larger than 9% of Japan's GDP. Copyright 2005 International Monetary Fund.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 1017-1023

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:13:y:2005:i:5:p:1017-1023

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel M. Bernhofen, . "The Empirics of General Equilibrium Trade Theory: What Have We Learned?," Discussion Papers 10/24, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  2. Bade, Franz-Josef & Alm, Bastian, 2010. "Endbericht zum Gutachten Evaluierung der Gemeinschaftsaufgabe "Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur" (GRW) durch einzelbetriebliche Erfolgskontrolle für den Förderzeitraum 1999-," EconStor Research Reports 93487, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  3. Andrés Artal & Juana Castillo & Francisco Requena, 2006. "Contrastación empírica del modelo de dotaciones factoriales para el comercio interregional de España," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 30(3), pages 539-576, September.

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