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The discovery of the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade


  • Lloyd, Peter


Heckscher (1919) and Ohlin (1924, 1933) constructed the Heckscher–Ohlin model of international trade with variable proportions between nonspecific factors. However, four other authors have been credited with the discovery independently of a variable proportions model of international trade before Ohlin in 1933. They are Haberler (1930), Viner (1931), Leontief (1933), and Lerner (1932, 1934). This paper compares the structure of models of these six authors and examines whether each derived the four core theorems; gains from trade, factor price equalization, the Heckscher–Ohlin theorem and the Stolper–Samuelson Theorem. The claims for Haberler and Viner are dismissed but Leontief and Lerner constructed models of international trade similar to those of Heckscher and Ohlin. I then consider how the development of production and general equilibrium models enabled the discovery of the "Heckscher–Ohlin" model and explore reasons for the longevity of the Heckscher–Ohlin model.

Suggested Citation

  • Lloyd, Peter, 2011. "The discovery of the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 1(3), pages 241-264.
  • Handle: RePEc:gok:ijdcv1:v:1:y:2011:i:3:p:241-264

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