The Classical Ricardian Theory of Comparative Advantage Revisited
Stephen S. Golub
Swarthmore College - Economics Department
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Review of International Economics
According to the classical Ricardian theory of comparative advantage, relative labor productivities determine trade patterns. The Ricardian model plays an important pedagogical role in international economics, but has received scant empirical attention since the 1960s. This paper assesses the contemporary relevance of the Ricardian model for U.S. trade. Cross-section seemingly unrelated regressions of sectoral trade flows on relative labor productivity and unit labor costs are run for a number of countries vis-a-vis the United States. The coefficients are almost always correctly signed and statistically significant, although much of the sectoral variation of trade remains unexplained.
JEL Classification: F11, F14
Date posted: September 9, 1998