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Do Factor Endowments Matter for North-North Trade?

  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein

The dominant paradigm of world trade patterns posits two principal features. Trade between North and South arises due to traditional comparative advantage, largely determined by differences in endowment patterns. Trade within the North, much of it intra-industry trade, is based on economies of scale and product differentiation. The paradigm specifically denies an important role for endowment differences in determining North-North trade. This paper provides the first sound empirical examination of this question. We demonstrate that trade in factor services among countries of the North is systematically related to endowment differences and large in economic magnitude. Intra-industry trade, rather than being a puzzle for a factor endowments theory, is instead the conduit for a great deal of this factor service trade.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8516.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Marjit, Sugata and Eden Yu (eds.) Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Trade Theory and Policy. Elsevier, 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8516
Note: ITI
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  1. 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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  3. Daniel Trefler & Susan Chun Zhu, 2005. "The Structure of Factor Content Predictions," NBER Working Papers 11221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155.
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  9. Werner Antweiler & Daniel Trefler, 2000. "Increasing Returns and All That: A View From Trade," NBER Working Papers 7941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1423-1453, December.
  11. Repetto, A. & Ventura, J., 1997. "The Leontief-Trefler Hypothesis and Factor Price Insensitivity," Working papers 97-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Jeffrey R. Bernstein & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Do Endowments Predict the Location of Production? Evidence from National and International Data," NBER Working Papers 6815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dalia Hakura, 1999. "A Test of the General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem for Trade in the European Community," IMF Working Papers 99/70, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  15. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "The Factor Content of Foreign Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 84-94, March.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
  19. Brecher, Richard A. & Choudhri, Ehsan U., 1982. "The factor content of international trade without factor-price equalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 277-283, May.
  20. Maskus, Keith E., 1985. "A test of the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek theorem: The Leontief commonplace," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 201-212, November.
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