NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Model of Trade: Why Does It Fail? When Does It Work?

Donald R. Davis, David E. Weinstein, Scott C. Bradford, Kazushige Shimpo

NBER Working Paper No. 5625
Issued in June 1996
NBER Program(s):   ITI

The Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek model of factor service trade is a central construct in international economics. Empirically, though, it is a flop. This warrants a new approach. Using Japanese regional data we are able to test the HOV model by independently examining its component production and consumption elements. The strict HOV model performs poorly because it cannot explain the international location of production. However, relaxing the assumption of universal factor price equalization yields a dramatic improvement. We also solve most of what Trefler (1995) calls the mystery of the missing trade. In sum, the HOV model performs remarkably well.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5625

Published: American Economic Review (June 1997).

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