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Comparative Advantage, Geographic Advantage, and the Volume of Trade

  • James E. Rauch

A functional relationship between the degree of a country?s comparative advantage in any good and the volume of its net exports of that good to its trading partner is established using a model with per-unit-distance transportation costs between countries' coasts and their interiors. The greater a country's comparative advantage, the greater the transportation cost it can overcome and hence the deeper its exports can penetrate geographically into its trading partner. The internal spatial structure of a country is modeled using cities as the basic spatial units. It is shown that the city closest to the coast will be the largest and have the highest wage rate and residential rental rates, and that population sizes, wage rates, and residential rental rates of cities all fall as one moves inland.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3512.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3512.

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Date of creation: Nov 1990
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Economic Journal, Vol. 101, pp. 1230-1244, (September 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3512
Note: ITI IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Deardorff, Alan V., 1979. "Weak links in the chain of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-209, May.
  3. Patricia E. Beeson & Randall W. Eberts, 1987. "Identifying amenity and productivity cities using wage and rent differentials," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q III, pages 16-25.
  4. Starrett, David A., 1974. "Principles of optimal location in a large homogeneous area," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 418-448, December.
  5. Bowen, Harry P & Leamer, Edward E & Sveikauskas, Leo, 1987. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 791-809, December.
  6. Rauch, James E., 1989. "Increasing returns to scale and the pattern of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 359-369, May.
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