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Jonathan Eaton Publications

Publish Date
Discussion Paper

Interpreting individual heterogeneity in terms of probability theory has proved powerful in connecting behaviour at the individual and aggregate levels. Returning to Ricardo's focus on comparative efficiency as a basis for international trade, much recent quantitative equilibrium modeling of the global economy builds on particular probabilistic assumptions about technology. We review these assumptions and how they deliver a unified framework underlying a wide range of static and dynamic equilibrium models.


We develop a Ricardian trade model that incorporates realistic geographic features into general equilibrium. It delivers simple structural equations for bilateral trade with parameters relating to absolute advantage, to comparative advantage (promoting trade), and to geographic barriers (resisting it). We estimate the parameters with data on bilateral trade in manufactures, prices, and geography from 19 OECD countries in 1990. We use the model to explore various issues such as the gains from trade, the role of trade in spreading the benefits of new technology, and the effects of tariff reduction.