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Judging Factor Abundance

  • Bowen, Harry P
  • Sveikauskas, Leo

Recent theory casts doubt on the frequently used interindustry regression method of inferring a country's abundant factors. This paper examines the empirical importance of these theoretical qualifications by comparing regression-derived estimates of factor abundance with both revealed and actual factor abundances for 35 countries and 12 resources. The authors demonstrate the theoretical importance of trade imbalances for the reliability of the regression estimates and therefore propose and implement a theoretically consistent trade imbalance correction. The results indicate that, despite valid theoretical concerns, the regression estimates are generally reliable indicators of revealed factor abundance. Therefore, the innumerable regression studies conducted over the past 30 years can be considered to provide reliable evidence concerning the validity of the factor abundance theory. Copyright 1992, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 107 (1992)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 599-620

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:2:p:599-620
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  1. Crafts, N F R & Thomas, Mark, 1986. "Comparative Advantage in UK Manufacturing Trade, 1910-1935," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 629-45, September.
  2. Lawrence F. Katz & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Can Interindustry Wage Differentials Justify Strategic Trade Policy?," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 85-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harry P. Bowen & Edward E. Leamer & Leo Sveikauskas, 1986. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," NBER Working Papers 1918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Leamer, Edward E, 1987. "Paths of Development in the Three-Factor, n-Good General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 961-99, October.
  5. Branson, William H. & Monoyios, Nikolaos, 1977. "Factor inputs in U.S. trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 111-131, May.
  6. Leamer, Edward E & Bowen, Harry P, 1981. "Cross-Section Tests of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem: Comment [Factor Abundance and Comparative Advantage]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1040-43, December.
  7. Baldwin, Robert E & Hilton, R Spence, 1984. "A Technique for Indicating Comparative Costs and Predicting Changes in Trade Ratios," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 105-10, February.
  8. Harkness, Jon P, 1978. "Factor Abundance and Comparative Advantage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 784-800, December.
  9. Baldwin, Robert E, 1971. "Determinants of the Commodity Structure of U.S. Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 126-46, March.
  10. Balassa, Bela, 1979. "The Changing Pattern of Comparative Advantage in Manufactured Goods," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 259-66, May.
  11. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  12. Harkness, Jon P, 1983. "The Factor-Proportions Model with Many Nations, Goods and Factors: Theory and Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(2), pages 298-305, May.
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