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Comparative Advantage and the Gains from Financial Trade: A Reappraisal

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  • Wyn Morgan
  • Nicholas Snowden

Abstract

Emerging market crises have suggested that a national benefit-cost assessment of external financial liberalisation could well prove unfavourable. This paper re-examines the principle of comparative advantage in its application to financial trade to seek guidance on measures that might permit a fuller realisation of the potential benefits involved. Drawing a parallel with Balasubramanyam's work on the gains from FDI and international migration we distinguish between those arising in financial trade from the net transfer of capital, and those deriving from the contemporaneous exchange of financial claims or services of equivalent value. In the first interpretation a country's comparative advantage is manifested by its role in 'intertemporal' trade (as a borrower or lender). Our alternative emphasis is on the contractual risk-return characteristics of the financial claims exchanged. This perspective is applied firstly to portfolio diversification gains arising from further international stock market integration. Secondly, price risk management for developing countries in international primary commodity trade is discussed. Both applications imply the need for significant institutional development but could realise approximately contemporaneous gains reminiscent both of those involved in merchandise trade and in the skills and product (or service) flows that Balasubramanyam has emphasised in relation to FDI and international migration. Copyright 2007 The Authors Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

Suggested Citation

  • Wyn Morgan & Nicholas Snowden, 2007. "Comparative Advantage and the Gains from Financial Trade: A Reappraisal," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 342-362, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:30:y:2007:i:2:p:342-362
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Varangis, Panos & Larson, Don, 1996. "Dealing with commodity price uncertainty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1667, The World Bank.
    2. G. Benavides & P. N. Snowden, 2006. "Futures for farmers: Hedging participation and the Mexican corn scheme," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 698-712.
    3. Mario Draghi & Francesco Giavazzi & Robert C. Merton, 2003. "Transparency, Risk Management and International Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 9806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Varangis, Panos & Larson, Donald & Anderson, Jack R., 2002. "Agricultural markets and risks - management of the latter, not the former," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2793, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claus, Edda & Lucey, Brian M., 2012. "Equity market integration in the Asia Pacific region: Evidence from discount factors," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 137-163.
    2. Nyahoho Emmanuel, 2010. "Determinants of Comparative Advantage in the International Trade of Services: An Empirical Study of the Hecksher-Ohlin Approach," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-24, February.

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