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Specialization, Factor Accumulation and Development

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  • Doireann Fitzgerald

    (Harvard University)

  • Juan Carlos Hallak

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

The Heckscher-Ohlin theory links specialization of production to relative factor endowments. Endowments are the result of accumulation in response to economic in-centives. Taking this into account allows us to reconcile wildly di¤erent predictions in the empirical literature about the e¤ect of capital accumulation on manufacturing output. We estimate the e¤ect of factor proportions on specialization in a cross-section of OECD countries. We show that using the estimation results alone, we cannot dis-tinguish between specialization driven by factor proportions, and specialization that is correlated with factor proportions for other reasons. But our results are consistent with evidence on sectoral factor intensities, which supports the H-O theory. Moreover, our model does a good job of predicting the substantial reallocation that takes place within manufacturing as countries grow. It explains 2/3 of the observed di¤erence in the pattern of specialization between the poorest and richest OECD countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 488.

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Length: 48 Pages
Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:488

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Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/
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  1. 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.
  2. Harrigan, James, 1997. "Technology, Factor Supplies, and International Specialization: Estimating the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 475-94, September.
  3. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  4. James Harrigan, 2001. "Specialization and the Volume of Trade: Do the Data Obey the Laws?," NBER Working Papers 8675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Leamer, Edward E, 1974. "The Commodity Composition of International Trade in Manufactures: An Empirical Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 350-74, November.
  6. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1849, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  8. James Harrigan & Egon Zakrajsek, 2000. "Factor Supplies and Specialization in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 7848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1997. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Working Papers 403, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Davis, Donald R. & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1997. "Using International and Japanese Regional Data to Determine When the Factor Abundance Theory of Trade Works," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 421-46, June.
  11. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Islam, Nazrul, 1999. "International Comparison of Total Factor Productivity: A Review," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(4), pages 493-518, December.
  13. Deardorff, Alan V., 1979. "Weak links in the chain of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-209, May.
  14. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  15. Aw, Bee-Yan, 1983. "The interpretation of cross-section regression tests of the heckscher-ohlin theorem with many goods and factors," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 163-167, February.
  16. 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.
  17. Bernstein, Jeffrey R. & Weinstein, David E., 2002. "Do endowments predict the location of production?: Evidence from national and international data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 55-76, January.
  18. Deardorff, Alan V, 1982. "The General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 683-94, September.
  19. Leamer, Edward E, 1987. "Paths of Development in the Three-Factor, n-Good General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 961-99, October.
  20. Dougherty, Chrys & Jorgenson, Dale W, 1996. "International Comparisons of the Sources of Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 25-29, May.
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