In search of scale effects in trade and growth

David K. Backus, Patrick J. Kehoe, Timothy J. Kehoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


We look for the scale effects predicted by some theories of trade and growth based on the dynamic returns to scale that arise from learning by doing, investment in human capital, or development of new products. We find little empirical evidence of a relation between the growth rate of GDP per capita and the measures of scale implied by the theory. Restricting attention to the manufacturing sector, however, we find a significant relation between the growth rate of output per worker and the relevant scale variables. We also find that growth rates are significantly related to measures of intra-industry trade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-409
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1992

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