By Krugman P. R., Obstfeld M.
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Extra info for International Economics (Addison-Wesley Series in Economics): Theory and Policy
In our one-factor model the reason why absolute productivity advantage in an industry is neither necessary nor sufficient to yield competitive advantage is clear: The competitive advantage of an industry depends not only on its productivity relative to the foreign industry, but also on the domestic wage rate relative to the foreign wage rate. A country's wage rate, in turn, depends on relative productivity in its other industries. In our numerical example, Foreign is less efficient than Home in the manufacture of wine, but at even a greater relative productivity disadvantage in cheese.
The essential concept in this analysis is that of comparative advantage. Although comparative advantage is a simple concept, experience shows that it is a surprisingly hard concept for many people to understand (or accept). Indeed, Paul Samuelson—the Nobel laureate economist who did much to develop the models of international trade discussed in Chapters 3 and 4—has described comparative advantage as the best example he knows of an economic principle that is undeniably true yet not obvious to intelligent people.
The growing importance of international capital markets and their new problems demand greater attention than ever before. This book devotes two chapters to issues arising from international capital markets: one on the functioning of global asset markets (Chapter 21) and one on foreign borrowing by developing countries (Chapter 22). Hpternational Economics: Trade and Money The economics of the international economy can be divided into two broad subfields: the study of international trade and the study of international money.