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Economic Geography and Reginal Production Structure: An Empirical Investigation

  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

There are two principal theories of why countries or regions trade: comparative advantage and increasing returns to scale. Yet there is virtually 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 market effects trade models to account for the structure of regional production in Japan. We find support for the existence of economic geography effects in eight of nineteen manufacturing sectors, including such important ones as transportation equipment, iron and steel, electrical machinery, and chemicals. Moreover, we find that these effects are economically very significant. The latter contrasts with the results of Davis and Weinstein (1997), which found scant economic significance of economic geography for the structure of OECD production. We conclude that while economic geography may explain little about the international structure of production, it is very important for understanding the regional structure of production.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6093.

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Date of creation: Jul 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as with R. Forslid and J. Haaland, The World Economy, Vol.19, no.6 (1996): 635-659. European Economic Review (February 1999).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6093
Note: ITI
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  1. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
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  8. 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.
  9. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
  10. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  11. Bernstein, Jeffrey R. & Weinstein, David E., 2002. "Do endowments predict the location of production?: Evidence from national and international data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 55-76, January.
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  16. Bernhofen, Daniel M., 1999. "Intra-industry trade and strategic interaction: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 225-244, February.
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