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What Role for Empirics in International Trade?


  • Donald R. Davis
  • David E. Weinstein


In the field of international trade, data analysis has traditionally had quite modest influence relative to that of pure theory. At one time, this might have been rationalized by the paucity of empirics in the field or its weak theoretical foundations. In recent years empirical research has begun to provide an increasingly detailed view of the determinants of trade relations. Yet the field as a whole has been slow to incorporate these findings in its fundamental worldview. In this paper, we outline and extend what we view as key robust findings from the empirical literature that should be part of every international economists working knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "What Role for Empirics in International Trade?," NBER Working Papers 8543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8543
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elhanan Helpman, 1999. "The Structure of Foreign Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    2. 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 421-446, June.
    3. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    4. 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.
    5. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-987, December.
    7. David Greenaway & Robert Hine & Chris Milner, 1994. "Country-specific factors and the pattern of horizontal and vertical intra-industry trade in the UK," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 77-100, March.
    8. Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Edward E. Leamer, 1992. "Testing Trade Theory," NBER Working Papers 3957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Falvey, Rodney E., 1981. "Commercial policy and intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 495-511, November.
    11. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1980. "Intra-industry trade under perfect monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 151-175, May.
    12. Finger, J M, 1975. "Trade Overlap and Intra-Industry Trade," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 581-589, December.
    13. Bowen, Harry P & Leamer, Edward E & Sveikauskas, Leo, 1987. "Multicountry, Multifactor Tests of the Factor Abundance Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 791-809, December.
    14. Kojima, Kiyoshi, 1964. "The Pattern of International Trade Among Advanced Countries," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 5(1), pages 16-36, June.
    15. Elhanan Helpman, 1998. "Explaining the structure of foreign trade: Where do we stand?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(4), pages 573-589, December.
    16. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1999. "International Technology Diffusion: Theory and Measurement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 537-570, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Guttmann & Anthony Richards, 2006. "Trade Openness: An Australian Perspective," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 188-203, September.
    2. Robbins, Donald J., 2003. "The impact of trade liberalization upon inequality in developing countries : a review of theory and evidence," ILO Working Papers 993650553402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. repec:eee:forpol:v:86:y:2018:i:c:p:45-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. João Amador & Sónia Cabral, 2009. "Intra-Industry Trade in the Portuguese Economy: Products and Partners," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    5. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    6. repec:ilo:ilowps:365055 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Irina Hotz, 2012. "Energy endowments, barriers to trade and industry location in Chinese provinces," IRENE Working Papers 12-02, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology

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