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Economic geography and regional production structure: an empirical investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

Abstract

There are two principal theories of why countries or regions trade: comparative advantage and increasing returns to scale. Yet there is virtually no empirical work that assesses the relative importance of these two theories in accounting for production structure and trade. We use a framework that nests an increasing returns model of economic geography featuring "home market effects" with that of Heckscher-Ohlin. We employ these trade models to account for the structure of regional production in Japan. We find support for the existence of economic geography effects in eight of nineteen manufacturing sectors, including such important ones as transportation equipment, iron and steel, electrical machinery, and chemicals. Moreover, we find that these effects are economically very significant. The latter contrasts with the results of Davis and Weinstein (1996), which found scant economic significance of economic geography for the structure of OECD production. We conclude that while economic geography may explain little about the international structure of production, it is very important for understanding the regional structure of production.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Economic geography and regional production structure: an empirical investigation," Staff Reports 40, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:40
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1996. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1773, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Davis, Donald R. & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1997. "Using International and Japanese Regional Data to Determine When the Factor Abundance Theory of Trade Works," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 421-446, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional economics - Japan; Japan;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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