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International Specialization and the Return to Capital

  • Batista, Catia

    ()

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Potin, Jacques

    ()

    (ESSEC Business School)

How does factor accumulation affect the pattern of international specialization and returns to capital? We provide a new integrated treatment to this question using a panel of 44 developing and developed countries over the period 1976-2000. 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. Innovatively, we obtain the returns to capital implied by this model: these are consistent with the Lucas paradox, which we explain after accounting for cross-country differences in the cost of capital goods. We also find that, along their development path, countries have often experienced structural change in the form of intra-industry specialization. Our findings are consistent with Ventura's hypothesis that growth can be promoted in this way through "beating the curse of diminishing returns" – indeed we find no decrease in the return to capital at any given capital-labor ratio despite capital accumulation by most countries within a cone of diversification.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4683.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics (Advances), 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4683
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  1. Fitzgerald, Doireann & Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2004. "Specialization, factor accumulation and development," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 277-302, December.
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  9. Stephen Redding, 2002. "Specialization dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 210, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Peter K. Schott, 2006. "The Relative Sophistication of Chinese Exports," NBER Working Papers 12173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Debaere, Peter & Demiroglu, Ufuk, 2003. "On the similarity of country endowments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 101-136, January.
  12. 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.
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  14. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Neves, Joao C & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2001. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Francesco Caselli, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 10828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 9701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Peter K. Schott, 2001. "One Size Fits All? Heckscher-Ohlin Specialization in Global Production," NBER Working Papers 8244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ventura, Jaume, 1997. "Growth and Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 57-84, February.
  24. Harrigan, James, 1995. "Factor endowments and the international location of production: Econometric evidence for the OECD, 1970-1985," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 123-141, August.
  25. 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.
  26. Deardorff, Alan V., 1994. "The possibility of factor price equalization, revisited," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 167-175, February.
  27. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1980. "Heckscher- Ohlin Trade Theory with a Continuum of Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 203-24, September.
  28. Alan V. Deardorff, 1974. "A Geometry of Growth and Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 7(2), pages 295-306, May.
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