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Trade, People and Places: A Social Economic-Geographic Approach to Comparative Institutional Advantage


  • Geoffrey Schneider
  • Paul Susman


This paper examines the theoretical underpinning of contemporary trade policies through a social economics lens. The paper offers a social economic critique of the theory of comparative advantage and the recently developed theory of comparative institutional advantage. Subsequently, the paper develops a more comprehensive and general theory of comparative institutional advantage consistent with the principles and methodology of social economics. Furthermore, it suggests ways in which this social economic-geographic version of the theory of comparative institutional advantage can be used in the construction of trade policies which are more likely to have a beneficial impact on the welfare of communities and to foster the fulfilling of human needs and potential. This version of the theory serves to reorient the focus of economic policy to the welfare of the community and the income-generating possibilities of trade. And it serves as a superior guide to policymaking because it is better able to define the root causes of regional success than standard trade theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Schneider & Paul Susman, 2008. "Trade, People and Places: A Social Economic-Geographic Approach to Comparative Institutional Advantage," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(4), pages 469-499.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:66:y:2008:i:4:p:469-499 DOI: 10.1080/00346760801932684

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
    2. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Swagel, Phillip, 2006. "The politics and economics of offshore outsourcing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1027-1056, July.
    3. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
    4. Wolfgang F. Stolper & Paul A. Samuelson, 1941. "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 58-73.
    5. Lori G. Kletzer, 2001. "Job Loss from Imports: Measuring the Costs," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 110.
    6. William R. Cline, 1997. "Trade and Income Distribution," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 58.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geoffrey Schneider, 2008. "Comparative Institutional Advantage and the Appropriate Development Model for Sub-Saharan Africa," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 37(2), pages 115-124, August.
    2. Escobal, Javier & Favareto, Arilson & Aguirre, Francisco & Ponce, Carmen, 2015. "Linkage to Dynamic Markets and Rural Territorial Development in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 44-55.


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