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On the measurement of comparative advantage

  • Hoen, Alex R.

    (Groningen University)

This article shows that the distribution of the standard measure of revealed comparative advantage (RCA), which runs from 0 to 8, has problematic properties. Due to its multiplicative specification, it has a moving mean without a useful interpretation, while its distribution depends on the number of countries and industries. This article proposes an alternative, additive RCA, running from –1 to +1, with a bell-shaped distribution that centres on a mean equal to zero, independent of the classifications used. Statistical tests show the additive index to be more stable empirically too. Furthermore, the article proposes an aggregate RCA that runs from 0, when pure intra-industry trade prevails, to 1 in the case of pure inter-industry trade. Comparable conclusions hold for the location quotient (LQ), which is used as a measure for the revealed locational attractiveness of certain regions or countries for certain types of industry.

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File URL: http://irs.ub.rug.nl/ppn/265445132
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Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 04C11.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugsom:04c11
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  1. Kunimoto, Kazutaka, 1977. "Typology of Trade Intensity Indices," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 17(2), pages 15-32, February.
  2. Thijs Ten Raa & Pierre Mohnen, 2001. "The Location of Comparative Advantages on the Basis of Fundamentals Only," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 93-108.
  3. Jeroen Hinloopen & Charles Marrewijk, 2001. "On the empirical distribution of the Balassa index," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 1-35, March.
  4. Harry Bowen, 1985. "On measuring comparative advantage: A reply and extension," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 351-354, June.
  5. Thomas Vollrath, 1991. "A theoretical evaluation of alternative trade intensity measures of revealed comparative advantage," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 265-280, June.
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