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The growth and patterns of international trade


  • Bruce A. Blonigen
  • Wesley W. Wilson


Over the last 40 years, there has been an unprecedented growth in trade amongst countries, and the growth in trade shows no sign of slowing down. The increases in trade have put tremendous pressure on the maritime and port industries, and these industries have responded with innovations, investment, and greater productivity. International trade and maritime trade are synonyms, and an understanding of the determinants of international trade is central to understanding maritime trade. In this paper, we provide a review of the international trade literature with a focus on the determinants of trade and the evolution of trade modeling. We then present a broad overview of the extent and growth of trade in the context of primary determinants. The basic results are: (1) Trade is growing at a phenomenal rate; (2) Trade is dominated by relatively few countries who tend to remain dominant; (3) While trade of all products is growing, there are large differences in the growth rates, but yet, there is stability in the relative sizes of product markets; and (4) Over the last 40 years, trade has changed from major flows between the US and Europe to major flows between Asia and the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Blonigen & Wesley W. Wilson, 2013. "The growth and patterns of international trade," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(7), pages 618-635, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:marpmg:v:40:y:2013:i:7:p:618-635
    DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2013.851454

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xuefeng, Qian & Ya┼čar, Mahmut, 2016. "Export Market Diversification and Firm Productivity: Evidence from a Large Developing Country," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 28-47.

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