IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

How Reasonable Are Assumptions Used in Theoretical Models?: Computational Evidence on the Likelihood of Trade Pattern Changes

  • Lisandro Abrego
  • Raymond Riezman
  • John Whalley

This paper seeks to contribute to discussion of the reasonableness of sometimes seemingly innocent assumptions used in theoretical trade models that the direction of trade is both predetermined for each good for each country and fixed. Here, we provide computational evidence as to the reasonableness of this assumption. We consider a simple three-country, three-good, pure-exchange model with CES preferences. We compute free trade competitive equilibria, three-country non-cooperative Nash equilibria, and customs union equilibria for randomized parameterizations, and find that trade patterns change in around 35% of the cases between free trade and customs union equilibria. In three-country Nash and customs unions comparisons trade patterns change roughly 40% of the time. We evaluate alternative cases, including with different numbers of randomizations in the parameter space. Results remain robust, reinforcing our conclusion that the assumption of unchanged trade pattern changes, common in theoretical analysis, does not have firm numerical support in the cases we consider.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8169.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Abrego, Lisandro, Raymond Riezman and John Whalley. “How Reasonable are Assumptions Used in Theoretical Models? Computational Evidence on the Likelihood of Trade Pattern Changes." Canadian Journal of Economics 39, 3 (August 2006): 781-789.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8169
Note: ITI
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Timothy J. Kehoe, 1979. "An Index Theorem for General Equilibrium Models with Production," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 516, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. John Kennan & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Do Big Countries Win Tariff Wars?," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 4, pages 45-51 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  3. Riezman, Raymond, 1985. "Customs unions and the core," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 355-365, November.
  4. Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1999. "Customs Unions and Comparative Advantage," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 239-66, April.
  5. Berglas, Eitan, 1979. "Preferential Trading Theory: The n Commodity Case," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 315-31, April.
  6. John Kennan & Raymond Riezman, 1990. "Optimal Tariff Equilibria with Customs Unions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 70-83, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8169. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.