IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_5622.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Dynamics of Comparative Advantage

Author

Listed:
  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Nelson Lind
  • Marc-Andreas Muendler

Abstract

This paper characterizes the dynamic empirical properties of country export capabilities in order to inform modelling of the long-run behavior of comparative advantage. The starting point for our analysis is two strong empirical regularities in international trade that have previously been studied incompletely and in isolation to one another. The literature has noted a tendency for countries to concentrate exports in a few sectors. We show that this concentration arises from a heavy-tailed distribution of industry export capabilities that is approximately log normal and whose shape is stable across countries, sectors, and time. Likewise, previous research has detected a tendency for mean reversion in national industry productivities. We establish that mean reversion in export capability, rather than indicative of convergence in productivities or degeneracy in comparative advantage, is instead consistent with a well behaved stochastic growth process that delivers a stationary distribution of country export advantage. In literature on the growth of cities and firms, economists have used stochastic processes to study the determinants of the long-run size distributions. Our contribution is to develop an analogous empirical framework for identifying the parameters that govern the stationary distribution of export capability. The main result of this analysis is that a generalized gamma distribution, which nests many commonly studied distributions, provides a tight fit of the data but log normality offers a reasonable approximation. Importantly, the stochastic process that generates log normality can be estimated in its discretized form by simple linear regression. Log linearity allows for an extension of our approach to multivariate diffusions, in which one can permit innovations to productivity to be transmitted intersectorally and internationally, as in recent models of trade and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon H. Hanson & Nelson Lind & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2015. "The Dynamics of Comparative Advantage," CESifo Working Paper Series 5622, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5622
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp5622.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chan, K C, et al, 1992. " An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Models of the Short-Term Interest Rate," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1209-1227, July.
    2. Vasicek, Oldrich, 1977. "An equilibrium characterization of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 177-188, November.
    3. Harald Fadinger & Pablo Fleiss, 2011. "Trade and Sectoral Productivity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 958-989, September.
    4. Buera, Francisco J. & Oberfield, Ezra, 2015. "The Global Diffusion of Ideas," Working Paper Series WP-2016-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. ., 2013. "The ABCs of the World Bank," Chapters,in: Change and Continuity at the World Bank, chapter 2, pages 7-21 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Paula Bustos & Bruno Caprettini & Jacopo Ponticelli, 2016. "Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1320-1365, June.
    8. Julie Lyng Forman & Michael Sørensen, 2008. "The Pearson Diffusions: A Class of Statistically Tractable Diffusion Processes," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 35(3), pages 438-465.
    9. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    10. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    11. Patrizio Pagano & Massimo Sbracia & Andrea Finicelli, 2008. "Trade-revealed TFP," 2008 Meeting Papers 717, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel S. Kortum & Sebastian Sotelo, 2012. "International Trade: Linking Micro and Macro," NBER Working Papers 17864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro, 2015. "Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-44.
    14. William Easterly & Ariell Reshef, 2014. "African Export Successes: Surprises, Stylized Facts, and Explanations," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume III: Modernization and Development, pages 297-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
    16. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    17. Francisco Buera, 2014. "The Global Diffusion of Ideas," 2014 Meeting Papers 1099, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nelson Lind & Natalia Ramondo, 2018. "Trade with Correlation," 2018 Meeting Papers 627, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Carrère, Céline & Fugazza, Marco & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2016. "On the heterogeneous effect of trade on unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 11540, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Cilem Selin Hazir & Flora Bellone & Cyrielle Gaglio, 2017. "Local Product Space and Firm Level Churning in Exported Products," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-02, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    4. Stephen J. Redding & David E. Weinstein, 2017. "Aggregating from Micro to Macro Patterns of Trade," NBER Working Papers 24051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Thibault Fally & James Sayre, 2018. "Commodity Trade Matters," NBER Working Papers 24965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Rodrigo Adao & Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson, 2017. "Nonparametric Counterfactual Predictions in Neoclassical Models of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 633-689, March.
    7. Fernandes, Ana M. & Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Martha Denisse, 2016. "Exporter behavior, country size and stage of development: Evidence from the exporter dynamics database," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 121-137.
    8. Pelli, Martino & Tschopp, Jeanne, 2017. "Comparative advantage, capital destruction, and hurricanes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 315-337.
    9. Liuchun Deng, 2016. "Specialization Dynamics, Convergence, and Idea Flows," SERIES 09-2016, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Nov 2016.
    10. Nelson Lind & Natalia Ramondo, 2018. "Trade with Correlation," NBER Working Papers 24380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Fabrice Defever & Alejandro Riano, 2017. "Twin peaks," Discussion Papers 2017-15, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    12. repec:eee:inecon:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:165-183 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Loitongbam, Bishwanjit Singh, 2016. "Impact of TRIPS and RTAs on the Indian Pharmaceutical Product Exports," MPRA Paper 75764, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 May 2016.
    14. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:3:p:425-455 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Asier Minondo, 2016. "Fundamental comparative advantage versus random talent: An analysis using chess data," Working Papers 1605, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    16. Andrey A. Gnidchenko & Vladimir A. Salnikov, 2015. "Net Comparative Advantage Index: Overcoming the Drawbacks of the Existing Indices," HSE Working papers WP BRP 119/EC/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    17. Lederman,Daniel & Pienknagura,Samuel Jaime & Rojas,Diego, 2015. "Latent trade diversification and its relevance for macroeconomic stability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7332, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; comparative advantage; generalized logistic diffusion; estimation of diffusion process;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5622. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.