Department of Economics Wilfrid Laurier University Winter 2010
Suggested Solutions to Assignment 2 (Optional)
Part B Short Questions
B1. Question # 1 of Ch 2 (8th ed. of the textbook) Canada and Australia are (mainly) English-speaking countries with populations that are not too different in size (Canada’s is 60 percent larger). But Canadian trade is twice as large, relative to GDP, as Australia’s. Why should this be the case? We saw that not only is GDP important in explaining how much two countries trade, but also, distance is crucial. Given its remoteness, Australia faces relatively high costs of transporting imports and exports, thereby reducing the attractiveness of trade. Since Canada has a border with a large economy (the U.S.) and Australia is not near any other major economy, it makes sense that Canada would be more open and Australia more selfreliant. B2. Question # 2 of Ch 2 (8th ed. of the textbook) Mexico and Brazil have very different trading patterns. Mexico trades mainly with the United States, Brazil trades about equally with the United States and with the European Union; Mexico does much more trade relative to its GDP. Explain these differences using the gravity model. Mexico is quite close to the U.S., but it is far from the European Union (EU). So it makes sense that it trades largely with the U.S. Brazil is far from both, so its trade is split between the two. Mexico trades more than Brazil in part because it is so close to a major economy (the U.S.) and in part because it is a member of a free trade agreement with a large economy (NAFTA). Brazil is farther away from any large economy and is in a free trade agreement with relatively small countries.
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B3. Question # 4 of Ch 2 (8th ed. of the textbook) Over the past few decades, East Asian economies have increased their share of world GDP. Similarly, intra-East Asian trade – that is, trade among East Asian nations – has grown as a share of world trade. More than that, East Asian countries do an increasing share of their trade with each other. Explain why, using the gravity model. As the share of world GDP which belongs to East Asian economies grows, then in every trade relationship which involves an East Asian economy, the size of the East Asian economy has grown. This makes the trade relationships with East Asian countries larger over time. The logic is similar for why the countries trade more with one another. Previously, they were quite small economies, meaning that their markets were too small to import a substantial amount. As they became more wealthy and the consumption demands of their populace rose, they were each able to import more. Thus, while they previously had focused their exports to other rich nations, over time, they became part of the rich nation club and thus were targets for one another’s exports. Again, using the gravity model, when South Korea and Taiwan were both small, the product of their GDPs was quite small, meaning despite their proximity, there was little trade between them. Now that they have both grown considerably, their GDPs predict a considerable amount of trade. B4. Question # 7 of Ch 3 (8th ed. of the textbook) Japanese labor productivity is roughly the same as that of the United States in the manufacturing sector (higher in some industries, lower in others), while the United States is still considerably more productive in the service sector. But most services are nontraded. Some analysts have argued that this poses a problem for the United Sates, because our comparative advantage lies in things we cannot sell on world markets. What is wrong with this argument? The problem with this argument is that it does not use all the information needed for determining comparative advantage in production: this calculation involves the four unit labor requirements (for both the industry and service sectors, not just the two for...