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The Influence of the Commodity Composition of Trade on Economic Growth


  • Vollrath, Thomas L.
  • Johnston, Paul V.


Empirical evidence supports the proposition that national income growth is strongly affected by trade specialization and comparative advantage in eight economic sectors. Commercial policy distortions and factor intensity reversals explain why trade does not always fit the skilled labor continuum underlying sectors ranked along the ladder of development. Income elasticities with respect to openness imply that economies become less dependent on international markets as they grow. This article examines the effects of the commodity composition of trade on economic growth, going beyond previous analytical efforts investigating international trade and domestic growth linkages.

Suggested Citation

  • Vollrath, Thomas L. & Johnston, Paul V., 1991. "The Influence of the Commodity Composition of Trade on Economic Growth," Journal of Agricultural Economics Research, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, issue 1.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersja:138337

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Riedel, James, 1984. "Trade as the Engine of Growth in Developing Countries, Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 56-73, March.
    2. Balassa, Bela, 1978. "Exports and economic growth : Further evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 181-189, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell H. Kellman & Yochanan Shachmurove, 2011. "Herfindahl-Hirschman Meets International Trade and Development Theories," Working Papers 50, Department of Applied Econometrics, Warsaw School of Economics.
    2. Mitchell H. Kellman & Yochanan Shachmurove, 2010. "Adam Smith Meets an Index of Specialization in International Trade," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.


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