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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Nelson Lind

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Emory University
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NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2015The Dynamics of Comparative Advantage
with Gordon H. Hanson, Marc-Andreas Muendler: w21753
This paper characterizes the dynamic empirical properties of country export capabilities in order to inform modelling of the long-run behavior of comparative advantage. The starting point for our analysis is two strong empirical regularities in international trade that have previously been studied incompletely and in isolation to one another. The literature has noted a tendency for countries to concentrate exports in a few sectors. We show that this concentration arises from a heavy-tailed distribution of industry export capabilities that is approximately log normal and whose shape is stable across countries, sectors, and time. Likewise, previous research has detected a tendency for mean reversion in national industry productivities. We establish that mean reversion in export capability, r...
 
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