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Market Access, Economic Geography, and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment

  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

The increasing returns revolution in trade is incomplete in an important respect there exists no compelling empirical demonstration of the role of increasing returns in determining production and trade structure. One reason is that trade patterns of the canonical increasing returns models are a consequence simply of specialization, which all theories permit. Krugman (1980) shows that increasing returns models with costs of trade economic geography do allow a simple test: home market effects of demand on production. Davis and Weinstein (1996) reject the simple Krugman (1980) model on OECD data. Here we pair the model with a richer geography structure and find evidence of the importance of increasing returns, in combination with comparative advantage, in affecting OECD manufacturing production structure. The results underscore the importance of market access in implementing models of economic geography.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6787.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Publication status: published as Davis, Donald R. and David E. Weinstein. "Economic Geography And Regional Production Structure: An Empirical Investigation," European Economic Review, 1999, v43(2,Feb), 379-407.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6787
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  6. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
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  9. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1997. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," Working Papers 403, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
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  19. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  20. Davis, Donald R, 1997. "Critical Evidence on Comparative Advantage? North-North Trade in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1051-60, October.
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