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The evolution of comparative advantage: Measurement and welfare implications

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  • Levchenko, Andrei A.
  • Zhang, Jing

Abstract

Using novel estimates of sectoral total factor productivities for 72 countries across 5 decades we provide evidence of relative productivity convergence: productivity grew systematically faster in initially relatively less productive sectors. These changes have had a significant impact on trade volumes and patterns, and a non-negligible welfare impact. Had productivity in each country׳s manufacturing sector relative to the US remained the same as in the 1960s, trade volumes would be higher, cross-country export patterns more dissimilar, and intra-industry trade lower than in the data. Relative sectoral productivity convergence – holding average growth fixed – had a modest negative welfare impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Levchenko, Andrei A. & Zhang, Jing, 2016. "The evolution of comparative advantage: Measurement and welfare implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 96-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:78:y:2016:i:c:p:96-111
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2016.01.005
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technological change; Sectoral TFP; Ricardian models of trade; Welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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