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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-Vanek. We employ these trade models to account for the structure of OECD manufacturing production. The data militate against the economic geography framework. Moreover, even in the specification most generous to economic geography, endowments account for 90 percent of the explainable variance, economic geography but 10 percent.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5706.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5706

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  2. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-11, December.
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  4. 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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  10. Hummels, D. & Levinsohn, J., 1993. "Monopolistic Competition and International Trade: Reconsidering the Evidence," Working Papers 339, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  11. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  12. 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.
  13. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
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  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Harrigan, James, 1994. "Scale Economies and the Volume of Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 321-28, May.
  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. 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.
  20. Markusen, James R & Wigle, Randall M, 1990. "Explaining the Volume of North-South Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1206-15, December.
  21. 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.
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