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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS Why do countries trade? Economics – A Course Companion. Bleak & Dorton , 2007, p245-25 PowerPoint Presentation
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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS Why do countries trade? Economics – A Course Companion. Bleak & Dorton , 2007, p245-251. Oxford University Press. . http://isis.faces.ula.ve/COMPUTACION/EMVI/17/NAFTA.jpg . Accessed: 5 th Sep 09.

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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Why do countries trade?

Economics – A Course Companion. Bleak & Dorton, 2007, p245-251. Oxford University Press.

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http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/feb06/images/Free-trade%20cartoon.jpghttp://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/feb06/images/Free-trade%20cartoon.jpg

Accessed: 4th September 2009

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http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/parker/econ462/FreeTradeCartoon.JPGhttp://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/parker/econ462/FreeTradeCartoon.JPG

the gains from international trade
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADE

There are a number of gains from international

trade which include:

  • Lower Prices
  • Greater Choice
  • Differences in Resources
  • Economies of Scale
  • Increased Competition
the gains from international trade lower prices
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADELower Prices
  • The main gain from trade is the ability to buy good and services at a lower price than the domestic one.
  • Consumers are able to buy less expensive products and producers are able to purchase less expensive raw materials and semi-manufactured goods.
  • This is the main reason for trade.
the gains from international trade lower prices1
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADELower Prices
  • Prices may be lower in some countries than others because of access to natural resources, differences in the quality of capital and the levels of technology.
  • The cause of these lower prices is mainly determined by the concept of comparative advantage.
the gains from international trade greater choice
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEGreater Choice
  • International trade enables consumers to have a greater choice of products.
  • They will have access not just to domestically produced products, but also the products that come from a number of different countries.
the gains from international trade differences in resources
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEDifferences in Resources
  • Different countries possess different resources
  • There are some resources that a country may need, but quite simply does not have.

Example

  • Many countries do not possess copper, diamonds or oil naturally.
  • However, many countries need these resources in order to produce other products, and so they must import the commodities they lack.
  • To do this they will need to export goods and services, in order to earn foreign currency and so buy the required resources.
the gains from international trade differences in resources1
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEDifferences in Resources

Singapore Case Study

  • Some countries, such as Singapore, have very few natural resources.
  • Singapore is very dependent on trade for its survival, economic growth, and well-being.
  • Singapore has to import every natural resource, even water!.
  • However, Singapore is able to export many goods and services in order to fund their imports.
the gains from international trade economies of scale
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEEconomies of Scale
  • When producing for an international market, as well as a domestic one, the size of the market, and thus demand will increase.
  • This means that the level of production and the size of the production units will also increase.
  • As we should remember from microeconomics, increased levels of production should provide scope for economies of scale to be achieved and production should become more efficient.
the gains from international trade economies of scale1
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEEconomies of Scale
  • Larger production units will enable the amount of specialization to increase.
  • When firms are large, individuals may specialize in specific, narrower tasks, such as an accounting manager or marketing manager. Workers should become more knowledgeable and so more efficient.
  • Larger production units will also lead to greater scope for the division of labour.
the gains from international trade economies of scale2
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEEconomies of Scale

Division of Labour

  • This is where a production process is broken down into number of simple and basic tasks.
  • Workers may then concentrate on a small, repetitive task and achieve a high degree of efficiency.
the gains from international trade economies of scale3
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEEconomies of Scale

Moving down the “learning curve” –

The Long Run Average Cost Curve

  • There will be cost benefits to be gained from acquiring experience and expertise.
  • For example: This can be achieved when countries, specialize in the production of certain commodities like chemicals.
the gains from international trade economies of scale4
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEEconomies of Scale

A Reduction in Long Run Average Costs

  • International trade, and with it larger markets and units, should enable production in a country’s export industries to become more efficient in the long run.
  • It should also make the producers more competitive.
  • It should lead to a reduction in long-run average costs.
the gains from international trade increased competition
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADEIncreased Competition
  • International Trade may lead to increased competition, as domestic firms compete with foreign firms.
  • This should lead to greater efficiency.
  • Consumers should gain be being offered less expensive goods and services.
  • It also likely that the quality and variety of goods and services available to consumers will increase, with international competition.
the gains from international trade1
THE GAINS FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Economic Growth

  • It is fair to say, that for all the reasons listed previously, international trade can make a major contribution to a country’s economic growth.
international trade theory hl concept
INTERNATIONAL TRADE THEORY(HL) Concept

Key Questions

  • Which goods and services should a country produce for export?
  • Which goods and services should a country import?

Answer

The answer to these questions can be found in

the concepts of absolute and comparative

advantage.

absolute advantage definition
ABSOLUTE ADVANTAGEDefinition
  • A country is said to have an absolute advantage in the production of a good or service, if it can produce it using fewer resources than another country.
absolute advantage theoretical example
Absolute Advantage Theoretical Example

The above table shows the production outcomes where two countries, Australia and China, are using the same quantities of resources to produce lamb and cloth. It is clear from the table that Australia has absolute advantage in producing lamb and that China has an absolute advantage in the production of cloth. Australia should obviously specialize in the production of lamb and China should specialize in the production of cloth.

absolute advantage the gains from specialization
ABSOLUTE ADVANTAGE The Gains from Specialization

Australia would only produce lamb, and if it doubled its resources, then assuming constant returns to scale, total output from the resources would be 12 kilos. Total lamb production has increased from a combined country effort of 10 kilos to one country (Australia) managing to produce 12 kilos with specialization. In the same way, China with twice as many resources dedicated to cloth production and constant returns to scale would have a total output of 6 metres of cloth. Total production of cloth has increased from a combined country effort of only 5 metres to one country (China) managed to produce 6 metres. Total output of both goods has risen following specialization.

absolute advantage
ABSOLUTE ADVANTAGE

Reciprocal Absolute Advantage

  • Where each country has an absolute advantage in the production of one product, this is called reciprocal absolute advantage.
comparative advantage
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
  • The whole concept of absolute advantage seems obvious, but what happens if there is not a situation of reciprocal absolute advantage?
  • In the early 19th century, David Ricardo was the first economist to prove mathematically that trade could still be beneficial to both countries when one of the countries had an absolute advantage in producing all goods.
  • Ricardo considered the opportunity cost of production and used this to explain the concept of comparative advantage.
comparative advantage definition
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGEDefinition
  • A country is said to have a comparative

advantage in the production of a good or

service, if it can produce it at a lower

opportunity cost than another country.

  • In other words, country A has to give up fewer units of other goods/services to produce the good/service in question, than does country B.
comparative advantage theoretical example
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGETheoretical Example

This table shows that France has an absolute advantage in the production of both goods. However, in terms of comparative advantage France has a comparative advantage in the production of wine and Poland has a comparative advantage in the production of cheese. This is because France only has to give up 4/3 kilo of cheese to produce a alitre of wine, whereas Poland has to give up 3 kilos of cheese to produce 1 litre of wine. Poland only has to give up ⅓ of a litre of wine to produce a kilo of cheese, whereas France has to give up a ¾ litre of wine.

comparative advantage theoretical example1
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGETheoretical Example

Specialization

  • The theory of specialization tells us that France should specialize in the production of wine and Poland should specialize in the production of cheese.
  • France will then consume the wine they wish and use any extra wine to exchange for cheese.
  • In the same way Poland, will consume the cheese that it wants and use any extra cheese to exchange for wine.
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PRODUCTION POSSIBILITY CURVES TO SHOW COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE

The comparative advantage for the better producer is the good where the distance between the production possibilities is greatest shown by (a) in the diagram. The comparative advantage for the less efficient producer is in the good where the distance between the production possibilities is least, shown by (b) in the diagram. France has the comparative advantage in producing wine and Poland has the comparative advantage in producing cheese.

productive possibility curves comparative advantage
Productive Possibility Curves & Comparative Advantage
  • The production possibilities curve is not a mathematical justification.
  • The relative slope of the lines is the key factor.
  • It is the slope of the lines, that show the opportunity costs, which in this model is always shown as constant opportunity cost.
comparative advantage must be different between countries or there is no reason for trade
Comparative Advantage must be different between countries or there is no reason for trade
  • It is important to remember that the theory of comparative advantage works so long as the opportunity costs faced by the two countries are different.
  • If the two countries face the same opportunity costs, then there would be no point in trade taking place.
what gives a country a comparative advantage
What gives a country a comparative advantage?
  • To large extent, comparative advantage is based on a country’s factor endowments.
  • A country that is “endowed” with a large amount of arable land may develop a comparative advantage in agricultural products.
  • A country with abundant unskilled labour can develop its comparative advantage in the production of labour-intensive, low skilled, manufactured goods.
what gives a country a comparative advantage1
What gives a country a comparative advantage?
  • A country with abundant well-educated labour may have a comparative advantage in the output of financial services.
  • A country with beautiful beaches and a favourable climate may develop its comparative advantage in the output of tourist services, illustrating that “climate” can actually be a factor of production!
what gives a country a comparative advantage2
What gives a country a comparative advantage?
  • The abundance of a particular factor will make the price of this factor relatively lower than the price of other factors.
  • This will allow the opportunity cost of the goods or services using that factor to be lower than it would be in other countries.
limitations of the theory of comparative advantage
LIMITATIONS OF THE THEORY OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
  • Comparative advantage theory is based upon a number of assumption, which tend to limit the application of the theory in real life.
assumptions of comparative advantage
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
  • Perfect Knowledge
  • No Transport Costs
  • Two Economies, Producing Two Goods
  • Costs do not Change & Returns to Scale are Constant
  • Goods being traded are identical
  • Factors of Production remain in the country
  • Perfectly Free Trade among countries.
assumptions of comparative advantage 1 perfect knowledge
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE1. Perfect Knowledge
  • As in perfect competition, it is assumed that the producers and consumers have perfect knowledge and know where the least expensive goods may be purchased.
assumptions of comparative advantage 2 no transport costs
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE2. No Transport Costs
  • It is usually assumed there are no transport costs. In reality this is not true.
  • The existence of transport costs may erode a country’s comparative advantage and not make international trading worthwhile, since it may eliminate its competitiveness.
assumptions of comparative advantage 3 two economies producing two goods
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE3. Two Economies, Producing Two Goods
  • Basic theories assume there are only two economies producing two goods.
  • However, this is not such a problem.
  • The theory may be applied to more countries and more products and it is still possible to discern where the comparative advantage lies.
assumptions of comparative advantag 4 cost do not change returns to scale are constant
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAG 4 .Cost do Not Change, Returns to Scale are Constant
  • It is usually assumed that costs do not change and that returns to scale are constant. There are no economies or diseconomies of scale.
  • However the existence of economies of scale would, in all probability, increase a country’s comparative advantage, as relative costs of production fell even more.
assumptions of comparative advantage 5 goods traded are identical
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE5. Goods traded are identical
  • It is usually assumed that the goods being traded are identical such as barley, cotton, or bananas.
  • However, problems arise with goods such as consumer durables.
  • For example: A Toshiba television will be different from a Phillips Television and so it is much harder to prove that Japan has a comparative advantage in producing televisions.
assumptions of comparative advantage 6 factors of production remain in the country
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE6. Factors of Production Remain in the Country
  • It is usually assumed that the factors of production remain in the country.
  • However, it may be the factors of production, rather than the goods, that move from country to country.
  • For example, developed countries, rather than exporting finished goods to LDCs, may invest capital in LDCs to enable goods to be produced there.
  • Labour can also migrate from low-wage to high-wage countries.
assumptions of comparative advantage 7 free trade among countries
ASSUMPTIONS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE7. Free Trade among countries
  • It is usually assumed that there is perfectly free trade among countries, but of course, in reality, there are likely to be government-imposed trade barriers in many countries.
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EXAMINATION QUESTIONS

Short Response Questions

Explain the benefits that can be gained as a result of international trade (10 marks)

Using a diagram, explain the concept of comparative advantage (10 marks)