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Economic geography and regional production structure: an empirical investigation

  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 40.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:40
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  1. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "How wide is the border?," Research Working Paper 95-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  3. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Nakamura, Ryohei, 1985. "Agglomeration economies in urban manufacturing industries: A case of Japanese cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 108-124, January.
  5. Jeffrey R. Bernstein & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Do Endowments Predict the Location of Production? Evidence from National and International Data," NBER Working Papers 6815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Justman, Moshe, 1994. "The Effect of Local Demand on Industry Location," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 742-53, November.
  7. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
  8. Davis, Donald R, 1997. "Critical Evidence on Comparative Advantage? North-North Trade in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1051-60, October.
  9. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1997. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Working Papers 403, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Bowen, Harry P & Leamer, Edward E & Sveikauskas, Leo, 1987. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 791-809, December.
  11. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
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  13. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  14. 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 421-46, June.
  15. J. Vernon Henderson & Ari Kuncoro & Matthew Turner, 1992. "Industrial Development in Cities," NBER Working Papers 4178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  18. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  19. Davis, Donald R., 1995. "Intra-industry trade: A Heckscher-Ohlin-Ricardo approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 201-226, November.
  20. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1986. "Efficiency of resource usage and city size," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 47-70, January.
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  23. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
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