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Specialization, Factor Accumulation and Development

  • Doireann Fitzgerald
  • Juan Carlos Hallak

We estimate the effect of factor proportions on the pattern of manufacturing specialization in a cross-section of OECD countries, taking into account that factor accumulation responds to productivity. We show that the failure to control for productivity differences produces biased estimates. Our model explains 2/3 of the observed differences in the pattern of specialization between the poorest and richest OECD countries. However, because factor proportions and the pattern of specialization co-move in the development process, their strong empirical relationship is not sufficient to determine whether specialization is driven by factor proportions, or by other mechanisms also correlated with level of development.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10638.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10638.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Publication status: published as Fitzgerald, Doireann and Juan Carlos Hallak. "Specialization, Factor Accumulation And Development," Journal of International Economics, 2004, v64(2,Dec), 277-302.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10638
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1997. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Papers 591, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  5. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.).
  12. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  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. James Harrigan, 2001. "Specialization and the Volume of Trade: Do the Data Obey the Laws?," NBER Working Papers 8675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  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. 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.
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