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The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model and the Cambridge capital controversies

Author

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  • Kazuhiro Kurose

    (Tohoku University)

  • Naoki Yoshihara

    (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

This paper examines the validity of the factor price equalisation theorem (FPET) in relation to capital theory. Additionally, it presents a survey of the literature on Heckscher–-Ohlin-–Samuelson (HOS) models that treat capital as a primary factor, beginning with Samuelson (1953). Furthermore, this paper discusses the Cambridge capital controversy, which contends that marginal productivity theory does not hold when capital is assumed to be as a bundle of reproducible commodities instead of as a primary factor. Consequently, it is shown that under this assumption, the FPET does not hold, even when there is no reversal of capital intensity. This paper also demonstrates that the recent studies on the dynamic HOS trade theory generally ignore the difficulties posed by the capital controversies and are thereby able to conclude that the FPET holds even when capital is modelled as a reproducible factor. Our analysis suggests that there is a need for a basic theory of international trade that does not rely on factor price equalisation and a model that formulates capital as a bundle of reproducible commodities.

Suggested Citation

  • Kazuhiro Kurose & Naoki Yoshihara, 2016. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model and the Cambridge capital controversies," Working Papers SDES-2016-4, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Apr 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:kch:wpaper:sdes-2016-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    factor price equalisation; capital as the bundle of reproducible commodities; reswitching of techniques; capital reversing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade

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