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How reasonable are assumptions used in theoretical models? Computational evidence on the likelihood of trade pattern changes


  • Lisandro Abrego
  • Raymond Riezman
  • John Whalley


In theoretical literature it is common to make the assumption that in a multi-country, multi-good world, the direction of trade (import and export by commodity) is predetermined and fixed for each good for each country. We consider a simple three-country, three-good, pure-exchange model with CES preferences. We compute free trade competitive equilibria, three-country non-cooperative Nash equilibria, and customs union equilibria for randomised parameterizations, and find that trade pattern changes between free trade and customs union equilibria in around 35% of cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisandro Abrego & Raymond Riezman & John Whalley, 2006. "How reasonable are assumptions used in theoretical models? Computational evidence on the likelihood of trade pattern changes," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(3), pages 781-789, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:39:y:2006:i:3:p:781-789

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elhanan Helpman, 1999. "The Structure of Foreign Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    2. 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 421-446, June.
    3. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    4. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1423-1453, December.
    5. Antoni Estevadeordal & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "A Century of Missing Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 383-393, March.
    6. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-987, December.
    7. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    8. Hakura, Dalia S., 2001. "Why does HOV fail?: The role of technological differences within the EC," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 361-382, August.
    9. Bowen, Harry P & Leamer, Edward E & Sveikauskas, Leo, 1987. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 791-809, December.
    10. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Staiger, Robert W., 1988. "A specification test of the Heckscher-Ohlin theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 129-141, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration


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