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The Fallacy Of Composition: A Review Of The Literature

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  • Jörg Mayer

Abstract

The paper reviews the literature on the fallacy of composition with an emphasis on labour-intensive manufactures. It briefly addresses the protectionist and the partial-equilibrium versions of the argument before focusing on general-equilibrium considerations and the debate on the manufactures terms of trade of developing countries. The review indicates a potential fallacy of composition problem in labour-intensive manufactures, where competition among different groups of developing countries for export market shares may constitute a new form of the fallacy of composition. The likelihood of a country that exports labour-intensive manufactures to become subject to the fallacy of composition rises with the increasing integration of several strongly populated low-income countries into world markets, while it declines with continuous structural change and favourable aggregate demand conditions particularly in developed and the advanced developing countries.

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  • Jörg Mayer, 2003. "The Fallacy Of Composition: A Review Of The Literature," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 166, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:unc:dispap:166
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    1. Bloch, Harry & Sapsford, David, 2000. "Whither the Terms of Trade? An Elaboration of the Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 461-481, July.
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    7. Zhi Wang, 1999. "The Impact of China's WTO Entry on the World Labour-intensive Export Market: A Recursive Dynamic CGE Analysis," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 379-405, May.
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    9. Cline, William R., 1982. "Can the East Asian model of development be generalized?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 81-90, February.
    10. Prema-Chandra Athukorala, 2000. "Manufactured exports and terms of trade of developing countries: Evidence from Sri Lanka," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(5), pages 89-104.
    11. Faini, Riccardo & Clavijo, Fernando & Senhadji-Semlali, Abdel, 1992. "The fallacy of composition argument : Is it relevant for LDCs' manufactures exports?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 865-882, May.
    12. Ianchovichina, Elena, 2001. "Trade Liberalization in China’s Accession to WTO," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 16, pages 421-445.
    13. Schiff, Maurice, 1995. "Commodity exports and the adding-up problem in LDCs: Trade, investment and lending policy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 603-615, April.
    14. Martin, Will & Mitra, Devashish, 2001. "Productivity Growth and Convergence in Agriculture versus Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 403-422, January.
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