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Specialization, Factor Accumulation and Development

  • Doireann Fitzgerald

    (Harvard University)

  • Juan Carlos Hallak

    (Harvard University)

The Heckscher-Ohlin theory links specialization of production to relative factor endowments. Endowments are the result of accumulation in response to economic in-centives. Taking this into account allows us to reconcile wildly di¤erent predictions in the empirical literature about the e¤ect of capital accumulation on manufacturing output. We estimate the e¤ect of factor proportions on specialization in a cross-section of OECD countries. We show that using the estimation results alone, we cannot dis-tinguish between specialization driven by factor proportions, and specialization that is correlated with factor proportions for other reasons. But our results are consistent with evidence on sectoral factor intensities, which supports the H-O theory. Moreover, our model does a good job of predicting the substantial reallocation that takes place within manufacturing as countries grow. It explains 2/3 of the observed di¤erence in the pattern of specialization between the poorest and richest OECD countries.

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File URL: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers476-500/r488.pdf
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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 488.

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Length: 48 Pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:488
Contact details of provider: Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/

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  1. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1997. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Papers 591, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  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 421-46, June.
  3. Leamer, Edward E, 1974. "The Commodity Composition of International Trade in Manufactures: An Empirical Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 350-74, November.
  4. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  5. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1849, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. James Harrigan, 1996. "Technology, factor supplies, and international specialization: estimating the neoclassical model," Staff Reports 15, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. James Harrigan, 2001. "Specialization and the volume of trade: do the data obey the laws?," Staff Reports 140, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Deardorff, Alan V, 1982. "The General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 683-94, September.
  12. Aw, Bee-Yan, 1983. "The interpretation of cross-section regression tests of the heckscher-ohlin theorem with many goods and factors," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 163-167, February.
  13. James Harrigan & Egon Zakrajsek, 2000. "Factor supplies and specialization in the world economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Dougherty, Chrys & Jorgenson, Dale W, 1996. "International Comparisons of the Sources of Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 25-29, May.
  15. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Islam, Nazrul, 1999. "International Comparison of Total Factor Productivity: A Review," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(4), pages 493-518, December.
  19. Deardorff, Alan V., 1979. "Weak links in the chain of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-209, May.
  20. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
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