Type
Working paper
Title
Proximity as a Source of Comparative Advantage
Editor
Paris : Département d'économie de Sciences Po
Collection
Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers : 2013-05
Keywords
Ricardian model, Intersectoral specialization, Trade costs
Abstract
EN
This paper establishes that production unbundling has coincided with an inscreasing role of input costs in shaping the pattern of comparative advantage. I show that the wedge in the cost of the input bundle across countries in a multisectoral Ricardian model is given by a composite index of trade frictions incurred in sourcing inputs. As the cost share of inputs is sector-specific this wedge becomes source of comparative advantage whereby countries characterized by relatively high proximity to input suppliers specialize in sectors which use inputs more intensively. I find robust empirical evidence that the input cost channel has growing importance over 1995-2009. Nonetheless, consistently with the fundamental intuition of Ricardian models, the ranking of relative sectoral technology stocks still determines intersectoral specialization. Between 53-55% of intersectoral variation in relative sectoral exports is explained by technology while the input cost channel contributes 3 to 8% in the full sample, and 3 to 13% for the EU-15.
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