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Testing the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Theory with a Natural Experiment

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  • Assaf Zimring

    (Cornerstone Research)

Abstract

This paper uses the historical episode of the near-elimination of commuting from the West Bank into Israel, which caused a large and rapid expansion of the local labor force in the West Bank, to test the predictions of the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek (HOV) mode of trade. I use variation between districts in the West Bank to test these predictions, and find strong support for them: Wage changes were not correlated with the size of the shock to the district labor force (Factor Price Insensitivity); Districts that received larger influx of returning commuters shifted production more towards labor intensive industries (Rybczynski effect); And on the consumption side, the data are consistent with the assumption of identical homothetic preferences, which, combined with the production results, supports the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek theorem on the factor content of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Assaf Zimring, 2015. "Testing the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Theory with a Natural Experiment," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-243, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:15-243
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel M. Bernhofen & John C. Brown, 2009. "Testing the General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem: The Natural Experiment of Japan," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-058, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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    8. Mansour, Hani, 2010. "The effects of labor supply shocks on labor market outcomes: Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 930-939, December.
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    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heckscher-Ohlin; factor prices; Rybczynski effect; international trade; natural experiment; West Bank;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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