Endogenous Comparative Advantage, Government, and the Pattern of Trade
This paper explores the relationship between government policy and comparative advantage in a neoclassical model of international trade. A specification of the Ricardo-Viner model with public goods and public inputs is presented that is used to study the role that government policy can play in the determination and promotion of comparative advantage and in the maximization of the gains that may be obtained from international trade. The model is also used to study the influence that international trade can exert on the scale and scope of government activity. The paper endeavors to reconcile a positive theory of trade and government with the apparent shift in measured productivity that often follows an opening to trade. The paper concludes by interpreting the model in the context of recent policy discussions of such issues as structural impediments, competitiveness, and the role of trade policy.