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On Testing the Law of Comparative Advantage


  • Kozo Kiyota

    (Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan)


This paper reconsiders the law of comparative advantage (Deardorff, 1980, 1994) from an empirical point of view. I show that not only net exports valued at autarky prices but also those valued at free trade prices are needed to test the law of comparative advantage when trade is not balanced. This result brings into question the empirical success of the test of comparative advantage that Bernhofen and Brown (2004) have applied to Japan. I propose a more general test that is consistent with both balanced and unbalanced trade and apply it to Japan. The law of comparative advantage does not necessarily hold in Japan once trade imbalance is taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Kozo Kiyota, 2007. "On Testing the Law of Comparative Advantage," Working Papers 556, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:556

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leamer, Edward E, 1980. "The Leontief Paradox, Reconsidered," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 495-503, June.
    2. Alan Deardorff, 1994. "Exploring the limits of comparative advantage," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 1-19, March.
    3. Daniel M. Bernhofen & John C. Brown, 2004. "A Direct Test of the Theory of Comparative Advantage: The Case of Japan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 48-67, February.
    4. Takatoshi Ito, 1991. "The Japanese Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262090295, July.
    5. Daniel M. Bernhofen & John C. Brown, 2005. "An Empirical Assessment of the Comparative Advantage Gains from Trade: Evidence from Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 208-225, March.
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    More about this item


    International Law of Comparative Advantage; Trade Imbalance;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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