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Ohlin Lectures

Lessons from the Heckscher-Ohlin Framework

In this spirited and provocative book, Edward Leamer turns an examination of the Heckscher–Ohlin framework for global competition into an opportunity to consider the craft of economics: what economists do, what they should do, and what they shouldn’t do.

Lessons from the 1930s

The recent economic crisis--with the plunge in the stock market, numerous bank failures and widespread financial distress, declining output and rising unemployment--has been reminiscent of the Great Depression. The Depression of the 1930s was marked by the spread of protectionist trade policies, which contributed to a collapse in world trade. Although policymakers today claim that they will resist the protectionist temptation, recessions are breeding grounds for economic nationalism, and countries may yet consider imposing higher trade barriers.

Microeconomic Structure and Macroeconomic Implications

In the early 1990s, trade and labor economists, noting the fall in wages for low-skilled workers relative to high-skilled workers, began to debate the impact of trade on wages. This debate—which led to a sometimes heated exchange on the role of trade versus the role of technological change in explaining wage movements—continues today, with the focus now shifting to workers in the middle of the wage distribution.

A Review

No names are more closely associated with modern trade theory than Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin. The basic Heckscher-Ohlin proposition, according to which a country exports factors (embodied in goods) in relatively abundant supply and imports factors in relatively scarce supply, is a key component of modern trade theory. In this book, Robert Baldwin traces the development of the HO model, describing the historical twists and turns that have led to the basic modern theoretical model in use today.

In Globalization and the Poor Periphery before 1950 Jeffrey Williamson examines globalization through the lens of both the economist and the historian, analyzing its economic impact on industrially lagging poor countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In this examination of the political economy of economic policy determination and evolution in developing countries, Anne Krueger provides concrete insights into the interaction of economic and political variables that determine the success or failure of such policies an understanding that is essential if economists are to provide realistic technical assistance in the formulation of economic policy reform programs.

On the Choice of Exchange Rate Regimes

Most of the literature on exchange rate regimes has focused on the developed countries. Since the recent crises in emerging markets, however, attention has shifted to the choice of exchange rate regimes for developing countries, especially those that are more integrated into the world capital markets. In Too Sensational, W. Max Corden presents a systematic and accessible overview of the choice of exchange rate regimes. Reviewing many types of regimes, he shows how the choice of an exchange rate regime is related to both fiscal policy and trade policy.

The Impact of Factor Endowments, Culture, and Politics on Long-Run Economic Performance

In this book, based on the 1995 Ohlin Lectures, Deepak Lal provides an accessible, interdisciplinary account of the role of culture in shaping economic performance. Topics addressed include a possible future "clash of civilizations," the role of Asian values in the East Asian economic miracle, the cultural versus economic causes of social decay in the West, and whether modernization leads to Westernization.

As trade liberalization and the fragmentation of production processes promote greater international exchange of inputs, economists must adjust their thinking on trade issues. Transport costs have plummeted, and the difficulties of communicating between locales half a world apart have practically vanished. In this book Ronald Jones suggests how the basic core of real trade theory can be modified to take into account the increased international mobility of inputs and productive factors.


Why do certain ideas gain currency in economics while others fall by the wayside? Paul Krugman argues that the unwillingness of mainstream economists to think about what they could not formalize led them to ignore ideas that turn out, in retrospect, to have been very good ones.

The standard version of the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade treats the factors of production—land, labor, and capital—as essentially analytically similar and symmetrical. In these six essays Ronald Findlay explores modifications to the factor proportions model, looking in particular at what happens when human capital and land use are allowed to vary endogenously.

Assar Lindbeck demonstrates how macroeconomic analysis can incorporate a labor market characterized by unemployment. Balancing theoretical insights with lessons drawn from the experience of many countries, Lindbeck examines employment and unemployment against the background of developed market economies during the past century.

Drawing on preliminary results from a massive study conducted by the World Bank to probe the links between stabilization and growth, Cooper examines the experience of developing countries faced by the oil shocks of the 1970s and the debt crisis of the 1980s. He points out that a global slowdown in growth has shifted the main economic concern in developing countries from long-term growth to stabilization and adjustment.

A leading international economist looks at many of the key issues of trade policy now confronting the United States and the world in this timely book. Jagdish Bhagwati provides a clear, informative, and witty analysis of the protection debate and offers a prescription for reform

Jagdish Bhagwati is Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.