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Can Comparative Advantage Explain the Growth of US Trade?

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  • Alejandro Cunat
  • Marco Maffezzoli

Abstract

We present a dynamic comparative advantage model in which moderate reductions in trade costs can generate sizable increases in trade volumes over time. A fall in trade costs has two effects on the volume of trade. First, for given factor endowments, it raises the degree of specialization of countries, leading to a larger volume of trade in the short run. Second, it raises the factor price of each country's abundant production factor, leading to diverging paths of relative factor endowments across countries and a rising degree of specialization. A simulation exercise shows that a fall in trade costs over time produces a non-linear increase in the trade share of output as in the data. Even when elasticities of substitution are not particularly high, moderate reductions in trade costs lead to large trade volumes over time.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 241.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:241

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Cited by:
  1. Raphael A. Auer, 2013. "Product Heterogeneity, Cross-Country Taste Differences, and the Consumption Home Bias," Working Papers 13.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  2. Fuxiang Wu & Zhibiao Liu, 2010. "Microeconomic analysis on the growth of trade volume in China: 1978–2007," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 299-324, June.
  3. Yonghyup Oh & Wonho Song, 2008. "Sub-Prime Financial Crisis and US Policy Choices," Finance Working Papers 22995, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Raphael Auer, 2009. "Product Heterogeneity, Within-Industry Trade Patterns, and the Home Bias of Consumption?," Working Papers 09.05, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  5. Alejandro Cunat & Szabolcs Deak & Marco Maffezzoli, 2008. "Tax cuts in open economies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19620, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Alejandro Cuñat & Marco Maffezzoli, 2007. "Specialization Patterns and the Factor Bias of Technology," Working Papers 321, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. William F. Lincoln & Andrew H. McCallum, 2011. "Entry Costs & Increasing Trade," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1024, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  8. Raphael Anton Auer, 2010. "Consumer Heterogeneity and the Impact of Trade Liberalization: How Representative is the Representative Agent Framework?," Working Papers 2010-13, Swiss National Bank.
  9. Immaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D. & Sebastian Vollmer, 2007. "Competitiveness – A Comparison of China and Mexico," CESifo Working Paper Series 2111, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Philip Sauré, 2007. "Productivity Growth, Bounded Marginal Utility, and Patterns of Trade," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/56, European University Institute.

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