Testing Trade Theory
This review of the empirical literature in international micro economics observes that data have had a disappointingly small effect on the intellectual lives of international economists. The reasons for this are many and diverse, but one general comment is made here: We need better balance between the three layers of the argument: the issues, the theory and the data. The profession as a whole is imbalanced in favor of theory. But most of the empirical work is also imbalanced. Some empirical studies take the theory too seriously and lose track of the issues. Others do not take the theory seriously enough and try to make do with ad hoc but inappropriate empirical models. Some of these which lack the theory layer lack as well any clear issues. We need better balance.
Published: Surveys in International Trade, ed. by David Greenaway and L. Alan Winters, Basil Blackwell Publishers, 1994. pp. 66-106.