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Persistence and Mobility in International TradeName: James Proudman

  • Stephen Redding

This paper examines changing patterns of specialisation in international trade in manufactured goods in the United Kingdom and Germany between 1970 and 1993. The analysis is motivated by a simple theoretical model of endogenous economic growth, in which patterns of comparative advantage are determined by the history of technological change and help determine current rates of innovation. Learning by doing that is specific to a manufacturing sector provides a reason why initial patterns of comparative advantage and international specialisation will persist over time. In contrast, spillovers of technological knowledge between economies are a source of mobility in patterns of international specialisation. We present an empirical measure of the degree of specialisation in exports of a given sector termed Revealed Comparative Advantage. The distribution of this measure across sectors provides information on international specialisation at a point in time. Analysing how the distribution evolves over time yields insights into changes in international specialisation. By explicitly modelling the dynamics of Revealed Comparative Advantage across sectors and over time, the degree of persistence and mobility in actual patterns of international trade is evaluated. The degree of mobility over the sample period is found to be surprisingly high, with the pattern of international specialisation in the United Kingdom more mobile than that in Germany.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 64.

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Date of creation: Jun 1997
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:64
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  1. Geweke, John & Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1986. "Mobility Indices in Continuous Time Markov Chains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1407-23, November.
  2. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Productivity across Industries and Countries: Time Series Theory and Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 135-46, February.
  3. Redding, S., 1997. "Dynamic Comparative Advantage and the Welfare Effects of Trade," Economics Papers 140, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Quah, Danny T, 1996. " Convergence Empirics across Economies with (Some) Capital Mobility," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 95-124, March.
  5. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  6. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
  7. Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Aggregate and Regional Disaggregate Fluctuations," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 137-59.
  9. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-55, July.
  10. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-38, December.
  11. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
  12. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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