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International Specialization and the Return to Capital, 1976-2000

Using panel data, we provide an integrated treatment of factor endowments, factor prices, and international specialization. In the various cross sections, we confirm the Heckscher-Ohlin prediction that, with sufficient differences in country endowments, there is no factor Price equalization and countries specialize in different subsets of goods. We also explain why, despite higher returns to capital, poor countries do not attract more capital from rich countries. Moreover, along their development path, countries experience the structural change predicted by theory. We find that these changes in specialization mainly occur within industries. Despite capital accumulation by most countries, we find no decrease in the return to capital at any given capital-labour ratio. This must have facilitated growth through capital accumulation

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Paper provided by ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School in its series ESSEC Working Papers with number DR 08001.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:essewp:dr-08001
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ESSEC Research Center, BP 105, 95021 Cergy, France

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  1. Doireann Fitzgerald & Juan Carlos Hallak, 2002. "Specialization, Factor Accumulation and Development," Working Papers 488, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter Schott, 2003. "Survival of the best fit: exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of US manufacturing plants," IFS Working Papers W03/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Alejandro Cunat & Marco Maffezzoli, 2004. "Neoclassical Growth and Commodity Trade," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 707-736, July.
  4. Miklos Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "Volatility and Development," CEP Discussion Papers dp0706, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Francesco Caselli, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 10828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2001. "Trade in Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 8070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bernstein, Jeffrey R. & Weinstein, David E., 2002. "Do endowments predict the location of production?: Evidence from national and international data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 55-76, January.
  8. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based-Stabilizations," NBER Working Papers 7862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rudiger Dornbusch & Stanley Fischer & Paul A. Samuelson, 1980. "Heckscher-Ohlin Trade Theory with a Continuum of Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 203-224.
  10. Harrigan, James, 1997. "Technology, Factor Supplies, and International Specialization: Estimating the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 475-94, September.
  11. Deardorff, A.V., 1991. "The Possibility of Factor Price Equalization, Revisited," Working Papers 277, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  12. Francesco Caselli & James Feyrer, 2005. "The Marginal Product of Capital," NBER Working Papers 11551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  14. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  15. Jaume Ventura, 1997. "Growth and Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 57-84.
  16. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 9701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  18. Peter K. Schott, 2003. "One Size Fits All? Heckscher-Ohlin Specialization in Global Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 686-708, June.
  19. Stephen Redding, 2002. "Specialization dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 210, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  20. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1423-1453, December.
  21. Peter Debaere & Ufuk Demiroglu, 2006. "Factor Accumulation without Diminishing Returns: the Case of East Asia," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 16-29, 02.
  22. Debaere, Peter & Demiroglu, Ufuk, 2003. "On the similarity of country endowments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 101-136, January.
  23. 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.
  24. Daniel Trefler & Susan Chun Zhu, 2005. "The Structure of Factor Content Predictions," NBER Working Papers 11221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  26. Ulrich R. Kohli, 1978. "A Gross National Product Function and the Derived Demand for Imports and Supply of Exports," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 11(2), pages 167-82, May.
  27. Alan V. Deardorff, 1974. "A Geometry of Growth and Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 7(2), pages 295-306, May.
  28. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-Product Versus Within-Product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 647-678.
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