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Trade and American Cities: Who has the Comparative Advantage?


  • Heizi Noponen

    (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

  • Ann Markusen

    (Rutgers University)

  • Karl Driessen

    (International Monetary Fund)


Metropolitan areas across the United States are quite differentially positioned to benefit from greater international market integration. The authors hypothesizefzat because cities possess quite diverse industrial mixes, their stakes in national trade regimes and appropriate strategies for responding to altered trade opportunities will differ substantially. Using a modified shift-share technique with merged trade and industrial data at the three-digit level, the authors show that cities do indeed range widely in their relative comparative advantages. Furthermore, cities within a single state often have quite different stakes in heightened trade activity; some are better positioned to export, whereas others have more to gain from import protection or policies to strengthen domestic markets. Possessing a port no longer assures a metropolitan area a superior advantage in trade. The authors conclude that cities should study and fashion their own trade policies uniquely to match their existing and future capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Heizi Noponen & Ann Markusen & Karl Driessen, 1997. "Trade and American Cities: Who has the Comparative Advantage?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 11(1), pages 67-87, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ecdequ:v:11:y:1997:i:1:p:67-87

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George I. Treyz & Dan S. Rickman & Gang Shao, 1991. "The REMI Economic-Demographic Forecasting and Simulation Model," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 14(3), pages 221-253, December.
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    3. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, November.
    4. Greenwood, Michael J & Hunt, Gary L, 1984. "Migration and Interregional Employment Redistribution in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 957-969, December.
    5. Knapp, Thomas A. & Graves, Philip E., 1989. "On the role of amenities in models of migration and regional development," MPRA Paper 19914, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robin Leichenko & Julie Silva, 2004. "International Trade, Employment and Earnings: Evidence from US Rural Counties," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 355-374.
    2. Alistair Robson, 2011. "Endogenous Employment Growth and Decline in Australian Capital City Statistical Divisions," Chapters,in: Endogenous Regional Development, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Uribe-Etxeberria, Asier Minondo & Requena Silvente , Francisco, 2012. "The intensive and extensive margins of trade: decomposing exports growth differences across Spanish Regions," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, AsociaciĆ³n EspaƱola de Ciencia Regional, issue 23, pages 53-76.
    4. Shu-hen Chiang, 2012. "The sources of metropolitan unemployment fluctuations in the Greater Taipei metropolitan area," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(4), pages 775-793, November.

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