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Endowment Versus Finance; A Wooden Barrel Theory of International Trade

  • Jiandong Ju
  • Shang-Jin Wei

This paper develops a theory of international trade in which financial development and factor endowments jointly determine comparative advantage. We apply the financial contract model of Holmstrom and Tirole (1998) to the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson (HOS) model in which firms' dependence on external finance is endogenous, and the demand for external finance is constrained by financial development. The theory nests HOS model as a special case. A key result that emerges is what we call the law of a wooden barrel: if the external finance constraint is binding, then further financial development will increase the output of the industry more dependent on external finance, and decrease the output of the other industry. It is shown that financial development makes both labor and unemployed capital better off, but incumbent capital worse off. Therefore, financial development depends on the relative strength of political forces among labor, unemployed capital owners, and incumbent capital owners. If only the capital constraint is binding, on the other hand, the standard HOS predictions will apply.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/123.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/123
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  1. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "The Factor Content of Trade," NBER Working Papers 8637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2005, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Kletzer, Kenneth & Bardhan, Pranab, 1987. "Credit markets and patterns of international trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 57-70, October.
  4. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
  5. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization and the empowerment of talent," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 209-223.
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  7. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross, 2002. "Industry growth and capital allocation:*1: does having a market- or bank-based system matter?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 147-180, May.
  8. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," NBER Working Papers 5879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2004. "Credit Market Imperfections and Patterns of International Trade and Capital Flows," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-293, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  10. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Default And Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model Of Debt," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-41, February.
  11. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 2002. "Outsourcing in a Global Economy," Papers 218, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  13. Antras, Pol, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure," Scholarly Articles 3196328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," NBER Working Papers 6785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  16. James Harrigan, 1996. "Technology, factor supplies, and international specialization: estimating the neoclassical model," Staff Reports 15, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  17. Colin Mayer & Wendy Carlin, 1999. "Finance, Investment and Growth," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-FE-09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  18. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557.
  19. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600, 05.
  20. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  22. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
  23. Beck, Thorsten, 2001. "Financial development and international trade : is there a link?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2608, The World Bank.
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  25. Erik Berglof & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 1994. "Capital Structure with Multiple Investors," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0044, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
  26. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  27. Fisman, Raymond & Love, Inessa, 2004. "Financial development and growth in the short and long run," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3319, The World Bank.
  28. 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.
  29. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  30. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  31. Berglof, Erik & von Thadden, Ernst-Ludwig, 1994. "Short-Term versus Long-Term Interests: Capital Structure with Multiple Investors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1055-84, November.
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  34. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Debt Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 709-37, August.
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