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Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?

  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

There are two principal theories of why countries trade: comparative advantage and increasing returns to scale. Yet there is no empirical work that assesses the relative importance of these two theories in accounting for production structure and trade. We use a framework that nests an increasing returns model of economic geography featuring home market effects with that of Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek. We employ these trade models to account for the structure of OECD manufacturing production. The data militate against the economic geography framework. Moreover, even in the specification most generous to economic geography, endowments account for 90 percent of the explainable variance, economic geography but 10 percent.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5706.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5706
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  12. Deardoff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Working Papers 382, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  13. 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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  17. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
  18. Richard Brecher & Eshan Choudhri, 1992. "Some Empirical Support for the Heckscher-Ohlin Model of Production," Carleton Economic Papers 92-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  19. Jorgenson, Dale W., 1986. "Econometric methods for modeling producer behavior," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1841-1915 Elsevier.
  20. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1996. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Model of Trade: Why Does It Fail? When Does It Work?," NBER Working Papers 5625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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