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Dynamic Comparative Advantage and the Welfare Effects of Trade


  • Redding, Stephen


Developing economies may face a trade-off between specializing according to existing comparative advantage (in low-technology goods) and entering sectors in which they currently lack a comparative advantage but may acquire such an advantage in the future as a result of the potential for productivity growth (in high-technology goods). Comparative advantage is endogenously determined by past technological change, while simultaneously shaping current rates of innovation. Hence, specialization according to current comparative advantage under free trade may be welfare reducing. Selective intervention may be welfare improving, both for the economy undertaking it and for its trade partner. Copyright 1999 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Redding, Stephen, 1999. "Dynamic Comparative Advantage and the Welfare Effects of Trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 15-39, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:51:y:1999:i:1:p:15-39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Pascal Belan & Philippe Michel & Pierre Pestieau, 1998. "Pareto-Improving Social Security Reform," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 23(2), pages 119-125, December.
    3. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1992. "Fiscal Policy in an Endogenous Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1243-1259.
    4. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1999. "The Welfare Effects of Liquidity Constraints," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 410-430, July.
    5. Boldrin, Michele, 1992. "Dynamic externalities, multiple equilibria, and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 198-218, December.
    6. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E., 1992. "Finite lifetimes and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 171-197, December.
    7. Grossman, Gene M. & Yanagawa, Noriyuki, 1993. "Asset bubbles and endogenous growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 3-19, February.
    8. King, Ian & Ferguson, Don, 1993. "Dynamic inefficiency, endogenous growth, and Ponzi games," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 79-104, August.
    9. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    10. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models


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