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Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?

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  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

Abstract

There are two principal theories of why countries trade: comparative advantage and increasing returns to scale. Yet there is no empirical work that assesses the relative importance of these two theories in accounting for production structure and trade. We use a framework that nests an increasing returns model of economic geography featuring "home market" effects with that of Heckscher-Ohlin. We employ these trade models to account for the structure of OECD manufacturing production. The data militate against the economic geography framework. Relatively few sectors match its theoretical predictions. Moreover, of the explainable variation in production patterns, endowments account for 90 per cent, economic geography but 5 per cent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1773.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1773

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  1. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
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  5. Weder, Rolf, 1995. "Linking Absolute and Comparative Advantage to Intra-industry Trade Theory," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 342-54, October.
  6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
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  8. Dow, James & Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1991. "Homothetic preferences," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 176, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  9. Richard Brecher & Eshan Choudhri, 1992. "Some Empirical Support for the Heckscher-Ohlin Model of Production," Carleton Economic Papers 92-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
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  11. repec:fth:michin:382 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Jorgenson, Dale W., 1986. "Econometric methods for modeling producer behavior," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1841-1915 Elsevier.
  13. Deardoff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Working Papers 382, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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  15. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
  16. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1996. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Model of Trade: Why Does It Fail? When Does It Work?," NBER Working Papers 5625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bowen, Harry P & Leamer, Edward E & Sveikauskas, Leo, 1987. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 791-809, December.
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  21. 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.
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