Introduction International Trade Theory
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Introduction International Trade Theory Introduction International Trade Theory Document Transcript

  • INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT LESSON 2 INTRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL TRADE THEORY Learning Outcomes: controlled co-coa marketing board. The board was given the • Acquaint yourself with various theories propounded by authority to fix prices for cocoa and was designated the sole various experts in the field of international trade sharing buyer of all cocoa grown in Ghana. The board held down the their views and experiences by way of theories. prices that it paid farmers for cocoa, while selling the co-coa that it bought from them on the world market at world prices. • Theories also help people in the trade to implement them in Thus, it might buy cocoa from farmers at 25 cents. A pound practical scenario and finding ways and solutions to day to and sell it on the world market for the world price of 50 cents a day problems faced in working. pound. In effect, the board was taxing exports by paying Case Study farmers considerably less for their cocoa than it was worth on The Gains From Trade Ghana And South Korea the world market and money was used to fund the government Living standards in Ghana and South Korea were roughly policy of nationalization and industrialization. comparable in 1970. Ghana’s 1970 gross national product One result of the cocoa policy was that between 1963 and 1979 (GNP) per head was $250, and South Korea’s was $260. By the price paid by the cocoa marketing board to Ghana’s farmers 1998 the situation had changed dramatically. South Korea had a increased by a factor of 6, while the price of consumer goods in GNP per head of $8,600 and boasted the world’s 12th largest Ghana increased by factor of 22, and while the price of cocoa in economy. Ghana’s GNP per capita in 1998 was only $390, while neighboring countries in-creased by a factor of 22,and while the its economy ranked 96 in the world. These differences in price of cocoa in neighboring countries in creased by a factor of economic circumstances were due to vastly different economic 36! In real terms, the Ghanaian farm-ers were paid less every year growth rates since 1970. Between 1968 and 1998, the average for their cocoa by the cocoa marketing board, while the world annual growth rate in Ghana’s GNP was less than 1.5 percent. price increased signifi-cantly. Ghana’s farmers responded by In South Korea achieved a rate of more than 8 percent -annually switching to the production of subsistence foodstuffs that between 1968 and 1998. could be sold within Ghana, and the country’s production and While no simple explanation addresses the difference growth exports of cocoa plummeted by more than one-third in seven rates between Ghana and South Korea, part of the answer may years. At the same time, the Ghanaian government’s attempt to be found in the countries’ attitudes to ward- international trade. build an industrial base through state-run enterprises was a A now classic study by the World suggests that whereas the complete failure. The resulting drop in Ghana’s export earnings South Korean government implemented policies that encour- plunged the country into recession, led to a de-cline in its aged companies engage in international trade, the actions of the foreign currency reserves, and severely limited its ability to pay Ghanaian- government. Discouraged domestic producers from for necessary imports. becoming involved in international trade. As a conse-quence, in In essence, what happened in Ghana is that the inward oriented 1980 trade accounted for 18. Percent of Ghana’s GNP by value trade policy of the Ghanaian government resulted in a shift of compared to 74 percent of South’s GNP. that country’s resources away from the profitable activity of In1957, Ghana became the first of Great Britain’s West African growing cocoa-where it had an ab-solute advantage in the world colonies to gain independence. Its first president, Kwame economy and toward growing subsistence foods and manufac- Nkrumah, influenced the rest of the continent with his theories turing, where it had no advantage. This inefficient use of the of pan-African socialism. For Ghana this meant the imposition country’s resources severely damaged the Ghanaian economy of high tariffs on many imports, an import substitution policy and held back the country’s economic development aimed at fostering Ghana self- sufficiency in certain manufac- In contrast, consider the trade policy adopted by the South tured goods, and the adop-tion of policies that discouraged Korean government. The World Bank has characterized the Ghana’s enterprises from engaging in exports. The results were trade policy of South Korea as “strongly outward oriented.” an unmitigated disaster that transformed one of Africa’s most Unlike in Ghana, the policies of the South Korean government prosperous is into one of the worlds poorest. emphasize low import barriers on manufactured goods (but As an illustration of how Ghana’s antitrade policies destroyed not on agricultural goods) and incen-tives to encourage South the Ghanaian economy, consider the Ghanaian, government’s Korean firms to export. Beginning in the late 1950s, the South - involvement in the cocoa trade. A combination- of favorable Korean government progressively reduced import tariffs from climate, good soils, and ready access -to the world shipping an average of 60 percent -of the price of an imported good to routes has given Ghana an absolute advantage in cocoa less than 20 percent in the mid-1980s. On most nonagricultural production. Quite simply, it is one of the best places in the goods, import tariffs were reduced to zero. In addition, the World to grow cocoa. As a conse-quence, Ghana was the world’s number of -imported goods subjected to quotas was reduced largest producer and ex-porter of cocoa in 1957. Then the from more than 90 percent in the late 19505 to zero by the early government of the newly independent nation created a state- 1980s. Over the same period, South Korea progressively © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 15
  • reduced the subsidies given to South Korean exporters from an advocated that countries should simultaneously encourage INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT average of 80 percent of their sales price in the late 1950s to an exports and discourage imports. Although mercantilism is an average of less than 20 percent of their sales price in 1965 and old and largely discredited doctrine, its echoes remain in modem down to zero in 1984. Put another way, with the exception of political debate and in the trade policies of many countries. the agricultural sector (where a strong farm lobby maintained Next we will look at Adam Smith’s theory of absolute advan- import controls), South Korea moved progressively toward a tage. Proposed in 1776, Smith’s theory was the first to explain free trade stance. why unrestricted free trade is beneficial to a country. Free trade South Korea’s outward-looking orientation has been rewarded refers to a situation where a government does not attempt to by a dramatic transformation of its economy. Initially, South influence through quotas or duties what its citizens can buy Korea’s resources shifted from agriculture to the manufacture from another country, or what they can produce and sell to of labor-intensive goods, especially textiles, clothing, and another country. Smith argued that the invisible hand of the footwear. An abundant supply of cheap but well-educated market mechanism, rather than government policy, should labor helped form the basis of South Korea’s comparative deter- mine what a country imports and what it exports. His advantage in labor-intensive manufacturing. More recently, as arguments imply that such laissez-faire stance toward trade was labor costs have risen, the growth areas in the economy have in the best interests of a country. Building on sumit’s work are been in the more capita-in--tensive manufacturing sectors, two additional theories that we shall review. One is the theory especially motor vehicles, semiconductors, consumer electronics, of comparative advantage, advanced by the 19th century and advanced materials. As a result of these developments, English economist David Ricardo. This theory is the intellectual South Korea has gone through some dramatic changes. In the basis of the modem argument for unrestricted free trade. In the late 1950s, 77 percent of the country’s employment was in the 20th century two Swedish economists, Eli Heckscher and Bertil agricultural sector; today the figure is less than 20percent.Over Ohlin whose theory is known as the Heckscher-Ohlin theory, the same period the percentage of its GNP accounted for by refined Ricardo’s work. manufacturing in-creased from less than 10 percent to more The Benefits of trade than 30 percent, while the overall GNP grew at an annual rate of The great strength of the theories of Smith, Ricardo, and more than 9 percent. Heckscher-Ohlin is that they identify with precision the specific Sources: “Poor Man’s Burden: A survey of the third World, benefits of international trade. Common sense suggests that “The economist, September 23, 1989;World Bank, World some international trade is beneficial. For example, nobody Development report, 2000(Oxford: Oxford university press, would suggest that Iceland should grow its own oranges. 2000s,) Table 1;J. Whalee, “international Trade, Distortions, and Iceland can benefit from trade by exchang-ing some of the Long-Run Economic Growth, “International Monetary Fund products that it can produce at a low cost (fish) for some Staff Papers 40, no. 2 (June 1993), p. 299. products that it cannot produce at all (oranges). Thus, by engaging in international trade, Icelanders are able to add Introduction oranges to their diet of fish. The opening case illustrates the gains that come from interna- tional trade. For a long time the economic policies of the The theories of Smith, Ricardo, and Heckscher-Ohlin go economic policies of the Ghanaian government discouraged beyond this commonsense notion, however, to show why it is trade with other nations. The result was a shift in Ghana’s beneficial for a country to engage in international trade even for resources away from productive uses (grow-ing cocoa) and products it is able to produce for itself. This is a difficult concept toward unproductive uses (subsistence agriculture). The for people to grasp. For example, many people in the United economic policies of the South Korean government encouraged States believe that American consumers should buy products trade with other nations. ‘The result was a shift in South produced in the-United States by American companies when- Korea’s resources away from uses where it had no compara-tive ever possible to help save American jobs from foreign advantage in the world economy (agriculture) and toward more competition. Such thinking apparently underlay a 1997 decision productive uses (labor-intensive manufacturing). As a direct by the International Trade Commission to protect the Louisi- result of their policies toward interna-tional trade, Ghana’s ana crawfish industry from inexpensive Chinese imports (see economy declined while South Korea’s grew. This chapter has the companying Country Focus). two goals that are related to the story of Ghana and South The same kind of nationalistic sentiments can be observed in Korea. The first is to review a number of theories that explain many other countries. However, the theories of Smith, Ricardo, why it is beneficial for a country to engage in international trade. and Heckscher-Ohlin tell us that a country’s. Economy may gain The second goal is to explain the pattern of in-ternational trade if its citizens buy certain products from other nations that could that we observe in the world economy. With regard to the be produced at home. The gains arise because international pattern of trade, we will be primarily concerned with explaining trade allows a country to spe-cialize in the manufacture and the pattern of exports and im-ports of products between export of products that can be produced most efficiently in that countries. We will not be concerned with the pattern of for-eign country, while importing products that can be produced more direct investment between countries. efficiently in other countries. So it may make sense for the An Overview of Trade Theory United States to specialize in the production and export of We open this chapter with a discussion of mercantilism. commercial jet aircraft, since the efficient production of com- Propagated in the 16th and 17th centuries, mercantilism mercial jet aircraft requires resources that are abundant in the United States, such as a highly skilled labor force and cutting- © Copy Right: Rai University 16 11.154
  • edge technological know-how. On the other hand, it may make petition claimed that Chinese crawfish producers dumping their INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT sense for the United States to import textiles from India since product; selling at below cost to drive Louisiana producers out the efficient production of textiles requires a relatively cheap of business, the industry requested that a 200 percent to 300 labor force-and cheap lab-or is not abundant in the United percent import tax be placed on Chinese crawfish. The State of States. Louisiana appropriated $350,000 from state funds to support Of course, this economic argument is often difficult for the action. segments of a country’s pop-ulation to accept. With their future Lawyer representing the Chinese crawfish in-dustry claimed that threatened by imports, American textile companies and their lower production costs in China were the reason for the low employees have tried hard to persuade the U.S. government to prices-not dumping. One Louisiana-based importer of Chinese limit the importation of textiles by demanding quotas and crawfish pointed out that 27 processing plants in China tariffs. Similarly, as the Country Fo-cus illustrates, with their supplied his company. Workers at these plants were given future threatened by imports, the Louisiana crawfish indus-try housing and other amenities and paid 15 cents per hour, or $9 succeeded in persuading the government to limit imports of for a 60-hour week. The lawyers also said Chinese crawfish have crawfish from China. Although such import controls may been I good for American consumers, who have saved money benefit particular groups, such as American tex-tile businesses and benefited from a steadier supply, and good for Louisiana and their employees or Louisiana crawfish farmers, the theories cuisine, because it is has be-come less expensive to cock. The of Smith, Ricardo, and Heckscher-Ohlin suggest that the lawyers pointed out that the action was not in the interests of economy as a whole is hurt by this kind of action. Limits on Amer-ican consumers, since it was nothing more than an imports are often in the interests of domestic producers, but attempt by Louisiana producers to reestablish their lucrative not domestic consumers. monopoly on the production of crawfish, a monopoly that would enable them to extract higher prices from consumers. Case study However, the International Trade Commission was deaf to Crawfish Wars such arguments. The commission deemed that China was a Once upon a time, Louisiana was owned by the French. “nonmarket economy” since it was not yet a member of the Napoleon sold the territory to the United States, when Thomas World Trade organization (something that changed in 2001). Jefferson was president, but many of the French stayed on, The commission then used prices in a “market econ-omy,” over time, their descendants developed the distinctive Cajun Spain, to establish a benchmark for a “fair market value” for culture that today is cele-brated in the United States for its crawfish. Since Spanish crawfish sell for approximately twice the unique cuisine and -music. At the heart of that cuisine can be price of Chinese crawfish and about the same price as Louisiana found the venerable crawfish, as Louisianans call the crayfish. crawfish, the commission concluded that the Chi-nese were The crawfish is a fresh-water crustacean native to the bayous of dumping (selling below cost of production). In August Louisiana. A central ingredient of crawfish pie, bisque, etouffee, 1997,the commission levied a 110 to 123 percent duty on and gumbo, the craw-fish is to Cajun Louisiana what wine is to imports of Chinese crawfish, effectively negating the price France: a symbol of culinary symbol of its culture. It is also a advantage enjoy by Chinese producers. In the interests of major industry that -generates $300 million per year in revenues protecting American jobs, the commission sided with Louisiana for Louisiana crawfish farmers-or at least it did until the Chinese producers and against American consumers, who would now appeared. have to pay higher prices for crawfish. Under commission In the early 1990s, development of the Chinese industry was regulations, the ruling would stay place for five years, after which encouraged by Louisiana importers to meet the growing the legitimacy of import duty must be reevaluated. demand for crawfish. In China, the crawfish industry proved to be attractive for entrepreneurial farmers. Chinese crawfish first The pattern of international trade started to appear on the Louisiana scene in 1991. Although old- The theories of Smith, Ricardo, and Heckscher-Ohlin also help time Cajuns were quick to claim that the Chinese crawfish had a to explain the pattern of international trade that we observe in markedly inferior taste, consumers didn’t seem, to notice the the world economy. Some aspects of the pattern are easy to difference. More importantly perhaps, they liked the price, which understand. Climate and natural resource endowments explain ran between $2 and $3 per pound depending on the season, why Ghana exports cocoa, Brazil exports coffee, Saudi Arabia compared to $5 to $8 per pound for native Louisiana crawfish. exports oil, and China exports crawfish. But much of the With the significant price advantage, sales of Chinese imports observed pattern of international trade is more difficult to skyrocketed - from 353,000pounds in 1992 to 5.5 million explain. For example, why does Japan export automobiles, pounds in 1996. By 1996, Louisiana state officials estimated th- consumer electronics, and machine tools? Why does Switzer- at 3,000 jobs had been lost in the local indus-try mostly land export chemicals, watches, and jewelry? David Ricardo’s minimum-wage crawfish peelers, due to markets share gains theory of comparative advantage offers an explanation in terms made by the Chinese. of international differences in labor productivity. The more sophisticated Heckscher-Ohlin theory emphasizes the interplay This was too much for the Louisiana industry to stomach. In between the, proportions in which the factors of production 1996, Louisiana’s Crawfish Promotion and research board filed (such as land, labor, and capita) are available in different a petition with the International trade Commission, an arm of countries and the proportions in which they are needed for the U.S. government, requesting an antidumping action. The producing particular goods. This explanation rests on the © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 17
  • assumption that countries have varying endowments of me assertion was gold and silver were the mainstays of national INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT various factors of production. Tests of this theory, however, wealth and essential to vigorous commerce. At that time, gold suggest that it is a less powerful explanation of real-world trade and silver were the currency of trade between countries; a patterns than once thought. - country could earn gold and silver by exporting goods. By the One early response to the failure of the Heckscher-Ohlin theory same token, importing goods from other countries. The main to explain the ob-served pattern of international trade-was the tenet of mercantilism was that it was in a country’s to maintain product life-cycle theory. “Proposed by Ray-mond Vernon, this a trade surplus, to export more than it imported. By doing so, a theory suggests that early in their life cycle, most new products country would accumulate gold and silver and, consequently, are produced in and exported from the country in which they increase its national wealth and prestige. As the English were developed. As a new product becomes widely accepted mercantilist writer Thomas Mun put it in 1630. internationally, however, production starts in other countries. The ordinary means therefore to increase our wealth and As a result, the theory suggests, the product may ultimately be treasure is by foreign tread, where we must ever observe this exported back to the country of its original innovation. rule: to sell more to strangers yearly than we consume of theirs In a similar vein, during the 1980s economists such as Paul in value. Krugman of. Massa-chusetts Institute of Technology devel- Consistent with this belief, the mercantilist doctrine advocated oped what has come to be known as the new trade theory. New government intervention to achieve a surplus in the balance of trade theory stresses that in some cases countries specialize in. trade. The mercantilists saw no virtue in a large volume of trade the production and export of particular products not because per se. Rather, they recommended policies to maximize exports of underlying differences in factor endowments, but because in and minimize imports. To achieve this, imports were limited by certain industries the world market can support only a limited tariffs and quotas, while exports were subsidized. number of firms. (This is argued to be the case for the com- The classical economist David Hume pointed out an inherent mercial air-craft industry.) In, such industries, firms that enter inconsistency in the mercantilist doctrine in 1752. According to the market first are able to build a competitive advantage that is Hume, if England had a balance-of-trade surplus with France subsequently difficult to challenge. Thus, the observed pattern (it exported more than it imported) the resulting inflow of of trade between nations may be due in part to the ability of gold and silver would swell the domestic money supply and firms within a given nation to capture first-mover advantages. generated inflation in England. In France, however the outflow The United States dominates in, the export of commercial jet of gold and silver would have the opposite effect. France’s aircraft because American firms such as Boeing were first movers money supply would contract, and its prices would fall. This in .the world market. Boeing built a competitive advantage that change in relative prices between France and England would has subsequently been difficult for firms from countries with encourage the France to buy fewer English goods (because they equally favorable factor endow-ments to challenge. were becoming more expensive) and the English to buy more In a work related to the new trade theory, Michael Porter of the Franch goods. The result would be deterioration in the English Harvard Business School developed a theory, referred to, as the balance of trade and an improvement in France’s trade balance, theory of nation competitive advantage that attempts to explain until the English surplus was elim-inated. Hence, according to why particular nations achieve international success in particular Hume, in the long run no country could sustain a surplus OD industries. Like the new trade theorists, in addition to factor the balance of trade and so accumulate gold and silver as the endowments, Porter points out the importance of country mercantilists had envisaged. factors such as domestic demand and do-mestic rivalry in The flaw with mercantilism was that it viewed trade as a zero explaining a nation’s dominance in the production and export game. (A zero-sum game is one in which a gain by one country of particular products. results in a loss by another.) It was left to Adam Smith and The Theory and Government Policy David Ricardo to show the shortsightedness of this approach Although all these theories agree that international trade is and to demon-strate that trade is a positive sum game, or a beneficial to, a country, they lack agreement in their recommen- situation in which all countries can benefit. The mercantilist dations for government policy. Mercantilism makes a crude case doctrine is by no means dead. For example, Jarl Hagelstam, a for government involvement in promoting exports and director at the Finnish Ministry of Finance, has observed that in limiting imports. The theories of Smith, Ricardo, and most trade negotiations: Heckscher-Ohlin form part of the case for unrestricted free The approach of individual negotiating countries, both trade. The argument for unrestricted free trade is that both industrialized and developing has been to press for trade import controls and export incentives (such as subsidies) are liberalization in areas where their own comparative competitive self-defeating and result In wasted resources. Both the new advantages are. The strongest, and to resist liberalization in trade theory and Porter’s theory of national competi-tive areas where they are less competitive and fear that imports advantage can be interpreted as justifying some limited govern- Would replace domestic production. ment intervention to support the development of certain Hagelstam attributes this strategy by negotiating countries to a export-oriented industries. neomercantilist belief held by the politicians of many nations. Mercantilism This belief equates political power with economic power and The first theory of international trade emerged in England in economic power with a balance-of-trade surplus; Thus, the the mid-16th century. Referred to as mercantilism, its principle © Copy Right: Rai University 18 11.154
  • trade strategy of many nations is designed to simultaneously country must also consume what it produces. Ghana would be INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT boost exports and limit imports. able to produce 10 tons of cocoa and 5 tons of rice (point A in Figure 2.1), while South Ko-rea would be able to produce 10 Absolute advantage tons of rice and 2.5 tons of cocoa. Without trade, the com- In his 1776 landmark book The Wealth of Nations, Adam bined production of both countries would be 12.5 tons of Smith attacked the mercan-tilist assumption that trade is a zero- cocoa (10 tons in Ghana plus 2.5 tons in South Korea) and 15 sum game. Smith argued that countries differ in their ability to tons of rice (5 tons in Ghana and 10 tons in South Korea). If produce goods efficiently. In his time, the English, by virtue of each country were to specialize in producing the good for which their superior manufacturing processes, were the world’s most it had an absolute advantage and then trade with the other for efficient textile manufacturers. Due to the combination of the good it lacks, Ghana could produce 20 tons of cocoa, and favorable climate, good soils, and accumulated expertise, the South Korea could produce 20 tons of rice. Thus, by specializ- French had the world’s most efficient wine industry. The ing, the production of both goods could be increased. English had an absolute advantage in the production of Production of cocoa would increase from 12.5 tons to 20 tons, textiles, while the French had an absolute advantage in the while production of rice would increase from 15 tons to 20 production of wine. Thus, a country has an absolute advantage tons. The increase in production that would result from in the production of a product when it is more efficient than specialization is therefore 7.5 tons of cocoa and 5 tons of rice. any other country in producing it. Table 2.1 summarizes these figures. According to Smith, countries should specialize in the produc- tion of goods for which they have an absolute advantage and then trade these for goods produced by other countries. In 20 G Smith’s time, this suggested that the English should specialize Cocoa 15 Figure 2.1 in the production of textiles while the French should specialize The theory of Advantage in the production of wine. England could get all the wine it needed by selling its textiles to France and buy-ing wine in 10 A exchange. Similarly, France could get all the textiles it needed by 5 K selling wine to England and buying textiles in exchange. Smith’s B basic argument, therefore, is that you should never produce 2.5 1 K goods at home that you can buy at a lower cost from other countries. Smith demonstrates that by specializing in the 0 5 10 15 20 production of goods in which each has an absolute advantage, both countries benefit by engaging in trade. Rice Consider the effects of trade between Ghana and South Korea. The production of any good (output) requires resources Table 2.1 (inputs) such as land, labor, and capital. Assume that Ghana Absolute Advantage and the Gains from Trade and South Korea both have the same amount of resources and that these resources can be used to produce either rice or cocoa. Resources Required to Produce 1 Ton of cocoa and rice Assume further that 200 units of resources are available in each Cocoa Rice country. Imagine that in Ghana it takes 10 resources to produce Ghana 10 20 one ton of cocoa and 20 resources to produce one ton of rice. South Korea 40 10 Thus, Ghana could produce 20 tons of cocoa and no rice, 10 tons of rice and no cocoa, or some combination of rice and co- Production and Consumption without Tread coa between these two extremes. The different combinations Cocoa Rice that Ghana could produce are represented by the line GG’ in Ghana 10.0 5.0 Figure 2.1. This is referred to as Ghana’s production possibility South Korea 2.5 10.0 frontier (PPF). Similarly, imagine that in South Korea it takes 40 resources to produce one ton of cocoa and 10 resources to Total production 12.5 15.0 produce one ton of rice. Thus, South Ko-rea could produce 5 Production with specialization tons of cocoa and no rice, 20 tons of rice and no cocoa, or some Cocoa Rice com-bination between these two extremes. The different Ghana 20 0.0 combinations available to South Korea are represented by the line KK’ in Figure 2.1, which is South Korea’s PPF. Clearly, South Korea 0.0 20.0 Ghana has an absolute advantage in the production of cocoa. Total production 20.0 20.0 (More resources are needed to produce a ton of cocoa in South Consumption After Ghana Trades 6 Tons of Korea than in Ghana.) By the same token, South Ko-rea has an Cocoa for 6 Tons of South Korean Rice absolute advantage in the production of rice. Cocoa Rice Now consider a situation in which neither country trades with Ghana 14.0 6.0 any other. Each country devotes half of its resources to the production of rice and half to the produc-tion of cocoa. Each South Korea 6.0 14.0 © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 19
  • Increase in Consumption as a Result INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT of Specialization and Trade 20 G C Cocoa Rice 15 Figure 2.2 The Theory of Comparative Advantage Ghana 4.0 1.0 10 A Cocoa South Korea 3.5 4.0 By engaging in trade and swapping one ton of cocoa for one 5 ton of rice, producers in both countries could consume more B 1 1 2.5 K G of both cocoa and rice. Imagine that Ghana and South Korea swap cocoa and rice on a one-to-one basis; that is, the price of 0 3.75 5 7.5 10 15 20 one ton of cocoa is equal to the price of one ton of rice. If Ghana decided to export 6 tons of co-coa to South Korea and In light of Ghana’s absolute advantage in the production of import 6 tons of rice in return, its final consumption after trade both goods, why should it trade with South Korea? Although would be 14 tons of cocoa and 6 tons of rice. This is 4 tons Ghana has an absolute advantage in the pro-duction of both more cocoa than it could have consumed before specialization cocoa and rice, it has a comparative advantage only in the and trade and 1 ton more rice. Similarly, South Korea’s final production of cocoa: Ghana can produce 4 times as much cocoa consumption after trade would be 6 tons of cocoa and 14 tons as South Korea, but only 1.5 times as much rice. Ghana is of rice. This is 3.5 tons more cocoa than it could have con- comparatively more efficient at producing cocoa than it is at sumed before specialization and trade and 4 tons more rice. producing rice. Thus, as a result of specialization and trade, output of both Without trade the combined production of cocoa will be 12.5 cocoa and rice would be increased, and consumers in both tons (10 tons in Ghana and 2.5 in South Korea), and the nations would be able to consume more. Thus, we can see that combined production of rice will also be 12.5 tons (7.5tons in trade is a positive-sum game; it produces net gains for all Ghana and 5 tons in South Korea). Without trade each country involved. must consume what it produces. By engaging in trade, the two Comparative Advantage countries can increase their combined production of rice and David Ricardo took Adam Smith’s theory one step further by cocoa, and consumers in both nations can consume more of exploring what might happen when one country has an both goods. absolute advantage in the production of all goods. Smith’s The Gains from Trade theory of absolute advantage suggests that such a country Imagine that Ghana exploits its comparative advantage in the might derive no ben-efits from international trade. In his 1817 production of cocoa to increase its output from 10 tons to 15 book Principles of Political Economy, Ricardo showed that this tons. This uses up 150 units of resources, leaving the remain- was not the case. According to Ricardo’s theory of comparative ing50 units of resources to use in producing 3.75 tons of rice advantage, it makes sense for a country to specialize in the (point C in fig-ure 1.2). Meanwhile, South Korea specializes in production of those goods that it produces most efficiently and the production of rice, producing l0 tons. The combined to buy the goods that it produces less efficiently from other output of both cocoa and rice has now increased. Before special- countries, even if this means buying goods from other ization, the combined output was 12.5 tons of cocoa and 12.5 countries that it could produce more efficiently itself. While this tons of rice. Now it is 15 tons of cocoa and 13.75 tons of rice may seem counterintuitive, the logic can be explained with a (3.75 tons in Ghana and 10 tons in South Korea). The source simple example. of the increase in production is summarized in Table 2.2. Assume that Ghana is more efficient in the production of both Not only is output higher, but also both countries can now cocoa and rice; that is Ghana has an absolute advantage in the benefit from trade. If Ghana and South Korea swap cocoa and production of both products. In Ghana it takes 10 resources to rice on a one-to-one basis, with both coun-tries choosing to produce one ton one ton of cocoa and, 13 1/3 resources to exchange 4 tons of their export for 4 tons of the import, both produce one ton of rice. Thus, given its 200 units of resources, coun-tries are able to consume more cocoa and rice than they Ghana can produce 20 tons of cocoa and no rice, 15 tons of rice could before specialization and trade (see Table 2.2). Thus, if and no cocoa, or any combination in between on its PPF (the Ghana exchanges 4 tons of cocoa with South Korea for 4 tons ling GG’ in figure 2.2). In South Korea it takes 40 resources to of rice, it is still left with 11 tons of rice, which is 1 ton more produce one ton of cocoa and 20 resources to produce one ton than it had before trade. The 4 tons of rice it gets from South of rice. Thus South Korea can produce 5 tons of cocoa and no Korea in exchange for its 4 tons of cocoa, when added to the rice, 10 tons of rice and no cocoa, or any combination on its 3.75 tons it now produces domestically, leaves it with a to-tal of PPF (the link KK’ in figure 2.2). Again assume that without 7.75 tons of rice, which is 25 of a ton more than it had before trade, each country uses half of its resources to produce rice and specialization. Similarly, after swapping 4 tons of rice with half to produce cocoa. Thus, without “trade, Ghana will Ghana, South Korea still ends up with 6 tons office, which is produce 10 tons of cocoa, and 7.5 tons of rice (point A in more than it had before specialization. In addition, the 4 tons Figure 2.2), while South Ko-rea will produce 2.5 tons of cocoa of cocoa it receives in exchange is 1.5 tons more than it pro- and 5 tons of rice (point B in Figure2.2). duced before trade. Thus, consumption of cocoa and rice can increase in both countries as a result of specializa-tion and trade. © Copy Right: Rai University 20 11.154
  • The basic message of the theory of comparative advantage is 4. We have assumed that resources can move freely from the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT that potential’ world pro-duction is greater with unrestricted production of one good to another within a country. In free trade than it is with restricted trade. Ricardo’s the-ory reality, this is not always the case. suggests that consumers in all nations can consume more if 5. We have assumed constant returns to scale; that is, that there are no restrictions on trade. This occurs even in countries specialization by Ghana or South Korea has no effect on the that lack an absolute advantage in the pro-duction of any good. amount of resources required to produce one ton of cocoa In other words, to an even greater degree than the theory of ab- or rice. In reality, both diminishing and increasing returns to solute advantage, the theory of comparative advantage suggests specialization exist. The amount of resources required to that trade is a positive-sum game in which all countries that produce a good might decrease or increase as a nation participate realize economic gains. As such, this theory pro-vides specializes in production of that good. a strong rationale for encouraging free trade. So powerful is 6. We have assumed that each country has a fixed stock of Ricardo’s theory that it remains a major intellectual weapon for resources and that free trade does not change the efficiency those who argue for free trade. with which a country uses its resources. This static Qualifications and Assumptions assumption makes no allowances for the dynamic changes in The conclusion that free trade Js universally beneficial is a rather a country’s stock of resources and in the efficiency with which bold one to draw from such a simple model. Our simple the country uses its resources that might result from free model includes many unrealistic assumptions: trade. 1. We have assumed a simple world in which there are only two 7. We have assumed away the effects of trade on income countries and two goods. In the real world, there are many distribution within a country. countries and many goods. Given these assumptions, can the conclusion that free trade is Table 2.2 mutually beneficial be extended to the real world of many Comparative Advantage and the Gains From Trade countries, many goods, positive transportation costs, volatile exchange rates, immobile domestic resources, nonconstant Resources Required to Produce 1 Ton of Cocoa and Rice returns to specialization, and dynamic changes? Although a Cocoa Rice detailed extension of the theory of comparative advantage is Ghana 10 13.33 beyond the scope of this book, economists have shown that South Korea 40 20 the basic result derived from our simple model can be general- Production and Consumption without Trade ized to a world composed of many countries producing many different goods. Despite the shortcomings of the Ricardian Cocoa Rice model, research suggests that the basic proposition that Ghana 10.0 7.5 countries will ex-port the goods that they are most efficient at South Korea 2.5 5.0 producing is borne out by the data. How-ever, once all the Total production 12.5 12.0 assumptions are dropped, the case for unrestricted free trade, while still positive, has been argued by some economists Production with specialization associated with the “new trade the-ory” to lose some of its Cocoa Rice strength. Ghana 15.0 3.75 Simple Extensions of the Ricardian Model South Korea 0.0 10.0 Let us explore the effect of relaxing three of the assumptions Total production 15.0 13.75 identified above in the simple comparative advantage model. Consumption After Ghana Trades 4 Tons of Cocoa Below we relax the assumption that resources move freely from for 4 Tons of South Korean Rice the production of one good to another within a country, the assumption of constant returns to specialization, and the Cocoa Rice assumption that trade does not change a country’s stock of Ghana 11.0 7.75 resources or the efficiency with which those resources are South Korea - 4.0 6.0 utilized. Increase in Consumption as a Result Immobile Resources of Specialization and Trade In our simple comparative model of Ghana and South Korea, Cocoa Rice we assumed that producers (farmers) could easily convert land Ghana 1.0 0.25 from the production of cocoa to rice, and vice versa. While this assumption may hold for some agricultural products, resources South Korea 1.5 1.0 do not always shift quite so easily from producing one good to 2. We have assumed away transportation costs between another. A certain amount of friction is involved. For example, countries. embracing a free trade regime for an ad-vanced economy such as 3. We have assumed away differences in the prices of resources the United States often implies that the country will produce in different countries. We have said nothing about exchange less of some labor-intensive goods, such as textiles, and more rates, simply assuming that cocoa and rice could be swapped of some knowledge-in-tensive goods, such as computer on a one-to-one basis. © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 21
  • software or biotechnology products. Although the country as a million active members. All members receive a dividend check at INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT whole will gain from such a shift, textile producers will lose. A the end of each year that amounts to, about 10 percent of value textile worker in South Carolina is probably not qualified to of their purchases during the year (one does not have to be a write software for Microsoft. Thus, the shift to free trade may member to shop at REI). REI also has one of the fastest mean that she becomes unemployed or has to accept another growing, and most profitable, Internet sites in the retail less attractive job, such as working at a fast-food restaurant, For industry, which registered revenues of $412 million in 1999, up an example of how the shift toward free trade can impact an 300 percent from a year earlier. individual enterprise and its employ-ees, look at the Manage- To supply some of its own product need, REI has two ment Focus profiling how the outdoor equipment cooperative subsidiaries. One of these, Thaw, has been supplying REI with REI is adjusting its own production activities to deal with a a range of gear, include tents, backpack, sleeping bags, and move toward greater free trade in textiles in the U.S. economy. clothing, for 33 years. In recent years, Thaw has concentrated on Resources do not always move easily from one economic activity producing clothing items made out of fleece for REI’s stores. to another. The process creates friction and human suffering Unfortunately for thaw’s 200 employees, the economics of too. While the’ theory predicts that the benefits of free trade mananufacturing garments in the United States have been outweigh the costs by a significant margin, this is of cold chang-ing for several years. Following passage of the North comfort to those who bear the costs. Accordingly, political American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993,all tariffs on opposition to the adoption of a free trade regime typically trade in textile garments between the United states and Mexico comes from those whose jobs are most at risk. In the United were dropped (a tariff is a tax on imports). In the following States, for example, textile workers and their unions have long years, an increasing number of textile operations shut down in opposed the move to-ward free trade precisely because this the United States and moved to Mexico, attracted by lower labor group has much to lose from free trade Govern-ments often costs. Wage rates for textile workers in Mexico run about $5' to ease the transition toward-free trade by helping to retrain those $10 a day, compared to $8 to $10 an hour at Thaw’s opera-tion. who lose their jobs as a result. The pain caused by the move- For a labor-intensive operation such as garment production, ment toward a free trade regime is a short-term phenomenon, these wage differentials are significant. while the gains from trade once the transition has been made Given these economics, in mid-2000 REI announced it would are both significant and enduring. be closing its Thaw subsidiary and sourcing its fleece products Diminishing Returns from Mexico, by shifting its production to Mexico, REI expects The simple comparative advantage model developed above to reduce the cost of its fleece items by 20 percent. That means assumes constant returns to specialization. By constant returns lower prices for REI’s members and other customers and to specialization we mean the units of resources. Required to bigger profits for REI, which translates into larger dividend produce a good (cocoa or rice) are assumed to remain constant checks, for REI’s members. It also means that its employees at no matter where one is on a country’s production possibility the thaw will be out of a job. To assist its former employees at frontier (PPF). Thus, we assumed that it always took Ghana 10 Thaw, REI has added funds to federal money to assist with job units of resources to produce one ton of cocoa. However, it is retraining, unemployment benefits, and health insurance, more realistic to assume diminishing returns to specialization. The events at Thaw are being repeated across the country. Since Diminishing re-turns to specialization occurs when more units 1993, about 450,000 jobs have been lost in the U.S. garment of resources are required to produce each additional unit. While industry as production has moved to low wage countries such 10 units of resources may be sufficient to increase Ghana’s as Mexico, for-mer textile workers, most of whom are low output of cocoa from12 tons to 13 tons, 11 units of resources skilled, have found it difficult to find alternative full-time em- may be needed to increase output from13 to 14 tons, 12 units ployment. The department of Labor estimates that between of resources to increase output from 14 tons to 15 tons, and so 1995and 1997, 58 percent of unemployed textile workers failed on. Diminishing returns implies a convex PPF for Ghana (see to find full-time jobs, while for the 42 percent that did, their figure 2.3), rather than the straight line depicted in Figure 2.2. average wage dropped by some 20 percent. As painful as this Case study has been for textile workers, the American consumer has gained from lower prices, and American companies in many other Free Trade and REI industries have seen their sales to Mexico boom as trade barriers Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is a buyer’s cooperative that have come down. Thus, while a strong case can be made that has grown into one of the major suppliers of outdoor NAFTA has benefited the majority of American and Mexicans equipment in the United States and has a rapidly growing alike, it has inflicted pain on some groups, such as U.S. textile international business. Started in Seattle in 1938 by Lloyd workers, and forces some companies, such as REI, to make Anderson, the company provided high-quality climbing gear at difficult managerial decisions. a low price to members ‘of the cooperative, For its first 37 years, Sources: R. 1. Nelson, “REI’s Globalization,” Seattle Times, REI operated a single store in Seattle, but in 1975 the coopera- May 14, 2000, pp. D1, D2, and E Chabrow, “REI Gets Head tive started opening stores in other cities. Today REI has Start in Clicks and Mortar Race, “ Information Week, May 1, become a $621 million with 60 stores worldwide, 6,600 2000. employees revenue growth of 8 to 10 percent annually, and a goal of opening up three to five retail outlets per year. Despite the growth, REI is still organized as a cooperative with 1.7 © Copy Right: Rai University 22 11.154
  • INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT G Figure 2.3 Ghana’s PPF under PPF2 Figure 2.4 Diminishing Returns The Influence of free Cocoa PPF1 Trade on the PPF Cocoa 1 G 0 Rice It is more realistic to assume diminishing returns for two reasons. First, not all resources are of the same quality. As a 0 Rice country tries to increase its output of a certain good, it is increasingly likely to draw on more marginal resources whose Second, free trade might also increase the efficiency with which a productivity is not as great as those initially employed. The country uses its resources. Gains in the efficiency of resource result is that it requires evermore resources to produce an equal utilization could arise from a number of factors. For example, increase in output. For example, some land is more productive economies of large-scale production might become available as than other land. As Ghana tries to expand its output of cocoa, trade expands the size of the total market available to domestic it might have to utilize increasingly marginal land that is less firms. Trade might make better technology from abroad fertile than the land it originally used. As yields per acre decline, available to domestic firms; better technology can increase labor Ghana must use more land to produce one ton of cocoa. productivity or the productivity of land. (The so-called green revolution had this effect on agricultural outputs in developing A second reason for diminishing returns is that different goods countries.) Also, opening an economy to foreign competition use resources in dif-ferent proportions. For example, imagine might stimulate domestic- producers to look for ways to that growing cocoa uses more land and lass labor than growing increase their efficiency. Again, this phenomenon is arguably rice, and that Ghana tries to transfer resources from rice occurring in the once-protected markets of Eastern Europe, production to cocoa production. The rice industry will release where many former state monopolies are increasing the proportionately too much labor and too little land for efficient efficiency of their operations to survive in the competitive cocoa production. To absorb the additional resources of labor world market. and land, the cocoa industry will have to shift toward more labor-intensive methods of production. The effect is that the Dynamic gains in both the stock of a country’s resources and efficiency with which the cocoa industry uses labor will decline, the efficiency with which resources are utilized will cause a and returns will diminish. country’s PPF to-shift outward. This is illustrated in Figure 2.4, where the shift from BPF1 to PPF2 results from the dynamic Diminishing returns show that it is not feasible for a country to gains that arise from free trade. As a consequence of this specialize to the degree suggested by the simple Ricardian outward shift, the country in Figure 2.4 can produce more of model outlined earlier. Diminishing returns to specialization both goods than it did before introduction of free trade. The suggest that the gain from specialization likely to be exhausted theory suggests that opening an economy to free trade not only before specialization is complete. In reality, most countries do results in static gains of the type discussed earlier, but also not specialize, but instead produce a range of goods. However, results in dynamic gains that stimulate eco-nomic growth. If the theory predicts that it is worthwhile to specialize until that this is so, the case for free trade becomes stronger. point where the resulting gains from trade are out weighed by diminishing returns. Thus, the basic conclusion that unre- Evidence for the link between Trade and Growth stricted free trade is beneficial still holds, although because of Many economic studies have looked at the relationship between diminishing returns, the gains may not be as great as suggested trade and economic growth. In general, these studies suggest in the constant returns case. that, as predicted by the theory, countries that adopt a more open stance toward international trade enjoy higher growth Dynamic Effects and Economic Growth rates than se that close their economies to trade. Jeffrey Sachs Our simple comparative advantage model assumed that trade and Andrew Warner created a measure of how “open” to does not change a country’s stock of resources or the efficiency international trade an economy was and then looked at the with which it utilizes those resources. This static assumption relationship between “openness” and economic growth for a makes no allowances for the dynamic changes that might result sample of more than 100 countries for the years 1970 to 1990. form trade. If we relax this assumption, it becomes apparent Among other findings, they reported: that opening an economy to trade is likely to generate dynamic gains of two-sorts. First, free trade might increase a country’s We find a strong association between openness and growth, stock of resources as increased supplies of labor and capital both within the group of developing and the group of from abroad be-come available for use within the country. This developed countries. Within the group of developing countries, is occurring now in Eastern Europe, where many Western the open economies grew at 4.49 percent per year, and the closed businesses are investing large amounts of capital in the former economies grew at 0.69 percent per year. Within the group of Communist countries. developed economies, the open economies grew at 2.29 percent per year, and the dosed economies grew at 0.74 percent per year. The message of this study seems clear: Adopt an open economy and embrace free trade, and over time your nation will © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 23
  • be rewarded with higher economic growth rates. Higher growth of its influence, the theory has been subjected to many empirical INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT will raise income levels and living standards. This last point has tests. Beginning with a famous study published in 1953 by re-cently been confirmed by a study that looked at the relation- Wassily Leontief (winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in ship between trade and growth in incomes. The study, 1973), many of these tests have raised questions about the undertaken by Jeffrey Frankel and David Romer, found that on validity of the Heckscher- Ohlin theory. 15 Using the Heckscher- average, a one percentage point increase in the ratio of a Ohlin theory, Leontief postulated that since the united States country’s trade to its gross domestic product increases income was relatively abundant in capital compared to other nations, per person by at least one-half percent. For every 10 percent the united States would be an exporter of capital-intensive increase in the importance of international trade in an economy, goods and an importer of labor-intensive goods. To his av-erage income levels will rise by at least 5 percent. Despite the surprise, however, ‘he found that U.S. exports were less capital short-term adjustment costs associated with adopting a free intensive than U.S. imports. Since this result was at variance trade regime, trade would seem to produce greater economic with the predictions of the theory, it has become known as the growth and higher living standards in the long run, just as the Leontief paradox. theory of Ri-cardo would lead us to expect. No one is quite sure why we observe the Leontief paradox. Heckscher-Ohlin Theory One possible explanation is that the United States has a special Ricardo’s theory stresses that comparative advantage arises from advantage in producing new products or goods made with differences in pro-ductivity. Thus, whether Ghana is mare innovative technologies. Such products may be less capital efficient than South Korea. In the production of cocoa depends intensive than products whose technology has had time to on how productively it uses its resources. Ricardo stressed mature and become suitable for mass production. Thus, the Labor pro-ductivity and argued that differences in labor United States may be exporting goods that heavily use skilled productivity between nations underlie the notion of compara- labor and innovative entrepreneurship, such as computer tive advantage. Swedish economists Eli Heckscher (in 1919) and software, while importing heavy manufacturing products that Bertil Ohlin (in 1933) put forward a different explanation of use large amounts of capital. Some more recent empirical comparative ad-vantage. They argued that comparative advan- studies tend to confirm this. Recent tests of the Heckscher- tage arises from differences in national factor endowments. By Ohlin theory using data for a large number of countries tend to factor endowments they meant the extent to which a coun-try is confirm the existence of the Leontief paradox. endowed with such resources as land, labor, and capital Nations This leaves economists with a difficult dilemma. They prefer the have varying factor endowments, and different factor endow- Heckscher-Ohlin theory on theoretical grounds, but it is a ments explain differences in factor costs. The more abundant a relatively poor predictor of real-world international trade factor, the lower its cost. The Heckscher-Ohlin theory predicts patterns. On the other hand, the theory they regard as being too that countries will export those goods that make intensive use lim-ited, Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, actually of factors that are locally abundant, while importing goods that predicts trade patterns with greater accuracy. The best solution to make intensive use of factors that are locally scarce. Thus, the this dilemma may be to return to the Ricardian idea that trade Heckscher-Ohlin theory attempts to explain the pattern of patterns are largely driven by international differences in international trade that we observe in the world economy. Like productivity. Thus, one might argue that the United States Ricardo’s theory the Heckscher-Ohlin theory argues that free exports commercial aircraft and imports automobiles not trade is beneficial. Unlike Ricardo’s the-ory, however, the because its factor endowments are especially suited to aircraft Heckscher-Ohlin theory argues that the pattern of international manu-facture and not suited to automobile manufacture, but trade is determined by differences in factor endowments, rather because the United States is more efficient at producing aircraft than differences in productivity. than automobiles. A key assumption in the Heckscher-Ohlin The Heckscher-Ohlin theory also has commonsense appeal. For theory is that technologies are .the same across countries. This example, the ‘United States has long been a substantial exporter may not to be the case, and differences in technology may lead of agricultural goods, reflecting in part its unusual abundance to differences in productivity, which in turn, drives international of arable land. In contrast, China excels in the export of goods trade patterns. Thus, Japan’s success in exporting automobiles produced in labor-intensive manufacturing industries, such as in the 1970s and 1980s was based not just on the relative textiles and footwear. This reflects China’s relative abundance of abundance of capital, but also on its development of innova- low-cost labor. The United States, which lacks abundant low- tive manufacturing technology that enabled it to achieve higher cost labor, has been a primary importer of these goods. Note productivity levels in automobile production than other that it is relative, not absolute, endowments that are important; countries that that also had abundant capital. a coun-try may have larger absolute amounts of land and labor The Product Life-Cycle Theory than another country, but be relatively abundant in one of Raymond Vernon initially proposed the product life-cycle theory them. in the mid-1960s.19 Vernon’s theory was based on the observa- The Leontief Paradox tion that for most of the 20th century a very large proportion The Heckscher-Ohlin theory has been one of the most of the world’s new products had been developed by U.S. firms influential theoretical ideas in international economics. Most and sold first in the U.S. market (e.g.mass-produced automo- economists prefer the Heckscher-Ohlin theory to Ri-cardo’s biles, televisions, instant cameras, photocopiers, personal theory because it makes fewer simplifying assumptions. Because computers, and semiconductor chips). To explain this, Vernon © Copy Right: Rai University 24 11.154
  • argued that the wealth and size of the U.S market gave U.S. Evaluating the Product Life-Cycle Theory INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT firms a strong incentive to develop new consumer products. In Historically, the product life-cycle theory is an accurate explana- addition, the high cost of U.S. labor gave U.S. firms an incentive tion of international trade patterns. Consider photocopiers; the to develop cost-saving process innovations. - product was first developed in the early 1960s by Xerox in the Just because a new product is developed by a U.S. firm and first United States and sold initially to U.S. users. Originally Xerox sold in the U.S. market, it does not follow that the product exported photocopiers from the United States, primarily to must be produced in the United States. It could be produced Japan and the advanced countries of Western Europe. As abroad at some low-cost location and then exported back into demand began to grow in those countries, Xerox entered into the United States. However, Vernon argued that most new joint ventures to set up production in Japan (Fuji- Xerox) and products were initially products were initially produced- in Great Britain (Rank. Xerox). In addition, once Xerox’s patents America. Apparently, the pioneering firms believed it was better on the photocopier process expired, other foreign competitors to keep production facilities close the market and to the firm’s began to enter the market (e.g., Canon in Japan, Olivetti in center of decision making, given the uncertainty and risks Italy). As a consequence, exports from the United States inherent in introducing new products. Also, the demand for declined, and U.S. users be-gan to buy some of their photo- most new products tends to be based on nonprice factors. copiers from lower-cost foreign sources, particularly Japan. More Consequently, firms can charge relatively high prices for new recently, Japanese companies have found that manufacturing products, which obviate the need to look for low cost produc- costs are too high in their own country, so they have begun to tion sites in other countries.. switch production to developing countries such as Singapore and Thailand. As a result, initially, the United States and now Vernon went on to argue that early in the life cycle of a typical several other advanced countries (e.g., Japan and Great Britain) new product, demand is starting to grow rapidly in the United have switched from being exporters of photocopiers to being States, demand in other advance countries is limited to high- importers. This evolution in the pattern of international trade income groups. The limited initial demand in other advanced in photocopiers is consistent with the predictions of the prod- countries does not make it worthwhile for firms in those uct life cycle theory ‘that mature industries tend to go out of the countries to start producing the new product, but it does United States and into low- cost assembly locations. necessitate some exports from the United States to those countries. However, the product life-cycle theory is not without weak- nesses. Viewed from an Asian or European perspective, Over time, demand for the new product starts to grow in other Vernon’s argument that most new products are developed and advanced countries (e.g., Great Britain, France, Germany, and introduced in the United States seems ethnocentric. Although it Japan). As it does, it becomes worthwhile for foreign producers may be true that during U.S. global dominance (from 1945 to to begin producing for their home markets. In addition, 1975), most new products were produced in the United States, U.S.firms might set up production facilities in those advanced there have always been important exceptions. These exceptions countries where demand is growing. Consequently, production appear to have become more common in recent years. Many within other advanced countries begins to limit the potential for new products now introduce in Japan (e.g., videogame con- exports from the United States. soles). With the increased globalization European perspective, As the market in the United States and other advanced nations Vernon’s argument that most new products are developed and matures, the product becomes more standardized, and price introduced in the United States seems ethnocentric. Although it becomes the main competitive weapon. As this occurs, cost may be true that during U.S. global dominance (from 1945 to considerations start to playa greater role in the competitive 1975), most new products were produced in the United States, process. Producers based in advanced countries where labor there have always been important exceptions. These exceptions costs are lower than in the United States (e.g., Italy, Spain) might appear to have become more common in recent years. Many now be able to export to the United States. new products now introduce in Japan (e.g., videogame con- If cost pressures become intense, the process might, not stop soles). With the increased globalization and integration of a there. The cycle by which the United States lost its advantage to growing num-ber of new products (e.g., laptop computers, other advanced countries might be repeated once more, as compact disks, and digital cameras) are now introduced developing countries (e.g., Thailand) begin to acquire a produc- simultaneously in the United States, Japan, and the advanced tion advantage over advanced countries. Thus, the locus of Euro-pean nations. This may be accompanied by globally global production initially switches from the United States to dispersed production, with par-ticular components of a new other advanced nations and then from those nations to product being produced in those locations around the globe developing countries. where the mix of factor costs and skills is most favorable (as The consequence of these trends for the pattern of world trade predicted by the the-ory of comparative advantage). is that is over time the United States switches, from being an Consider laptop computers, which were introduced simulta- exporter of the Product to an importer of product as produc- neously in a number of major national markets by Toshiba. tion becomes concentrated in lower-cost foreign locations. Although various components for Toshiba laptop computers Figure 2.5 shows the growth of production and consumption are over time in the United States, other advanced countries, and manufactured in Japan (e.g., display screens, memory chips), developing countries. other com-ponents are manufactured in, Singapore and Taiwan © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 25
  • and still others (e.g., hard drives and microprocessors) are good, due to the realization of economies of scale, productivity INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT manufactured in the United States. All the components are will increase and unit costs will fall. shipped to Singapore for final assembly, and the completed New trade theory also argues that if the output required to product is then shipped-to the major world markets (the realize significant scale economies represents a substantial United States, Western Europe, and Japan). The pattern of proportion of total world demand for that product1 the world trade associated with this new product is both different from market may be able to support only a limited number of firms and more complex than the pattern predicted by based in a lim-ited number of countries producing that Figure 2.5 product. Those firms that enter the world market first may gain The product Life-Cycle Theory an advantage that may be difficult for other firms to match. Thus, a country may dominate in the export of a particular product where scale economies are important, and where the volume of output required to gain scale economies rep-resents a significant proportion of world output, because it is home to a firm that was an early mover in this industry. The Aerospace Example The commercial aerospace industry, which is currently domi- nated by just two firms, Boe-ing and Airbus (although there are several niche players), is a good example of this the-ory. Economies of scale in this industry come from the ability to spread fixed costs over a large out put. The fixed costs of developing a new commercial jet airliner are astro-nomical. Boeing spent an estimated $5 billion to develop its Boeing 777 jetliner. A ma-jor source of scale economies is the ability to spread these fixed costs over a large output. If Boeing only makes 100 of the Boeing 777, its fixed costs will amount to $50 million per unit (i.e., $5 billion divided by 100). If the variable costs such as labor, equipment, and parts equal $80 million per aircraft, the total cost-of each aircraft would be $130 million (i.e., $80 million in per unit variable costs plus $50 million in per unit fixed costs). If Boeing makes 500 of these aircraft, the fixed costs fall to $10 million per unit (i.e., $5billion divided by 500), bringing the total cost of each aircraft to just $9J million (i.e., 80 million plus $10 million). The economies of scale here are significant, with average unit costs falling by $40 Vernon’s model. Trying to explain this pattern using the million as output expands from 100 units to 500 units. product life-cycle theory would be very difficult. The theory of In addition to economies of scale, learning effects also exist in comparative advantage might better explain why certain this industry. These too may result in increasing returns to components are produced in certain locations and why the final specialization. Learning effects are cost savings that come from product is assembled in Singapore. Although Vernon’s theory learning by doing labor, for example, learns by repetition how may be useful for explaining the pattern of international trade best to carry out a task. Labor productivity increases over time during the brief period of American global dominance,’ its and variable unit costs fall as individuals learn the most efficient relevance in the modern world is limited. way to perform a particular task. Learning effects tend to be The New Trade Theory more significant when a technologically complex task is repeated The new trade theory began to emerge in the 1970s when a because there is more to learn. Thus, learning effects will be number of economists were questioning the assumption of more significant in an assembly process involving 1,000 diminishing returns to specialization used in interna-tional complex steps than in an assembly process involving 100 sim- trade theory (see Figure 2.3). They argued that increasing returns ple steps-and assembling a commercial jetliner involves more to special-ization might exist in some industries. Economies of complex steps than perhaps any other product. Learning effects scale represent one particularly important source of increasing were first documented in the aerospace in-dustry where it was returns. Economies of scale are unit cost reductions as-sociated found that each time accumulated output of airframes was with a large scale of output. If international trade results in a doubled, unit costs declined to 80 percent of their previous country special-izing in the production of a certain good, and if level. Thus, the fourth airframe typically cost only 80 percent of there are economies of scale- in producing that good, then as the second airframe to produce, the eighth airframe only 80 output of that good expands, unit costs will fall. In such a case, percent of the fourth, the 16th only 80 percent of the eighth, there will be increasing returns to specialization, not diminish- and so on. This observation implies that the $80 million in per ing returns! Put differently, as a country produces more of the unit variable costs required to build a 777 will decline over time as Output expands, primarily because of gains in labor pro- © Copy Right: Rai University 26 11.154
  • ductivity. Thus, while variable costs per unit might be $80 tive advantage. Economies of scale and learning effects both INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT million by the time 100air-craft have been ‘manufactured, by increase the efficiency of resource utilization, and hence in-crease the time 500 aircraft have been manufactured, they may have productivity. Thus, the new trade theory identifies an important fallen to $60 million per unit. source of com-parative advantage. Combine learning effects with our earlier calculation of the It is perhaps too early to say how useful this theory is in decline in unit fixed costs, and our analysis suggests that as explaining trade patterns. The theory is so new that little output of 777s expands from 100 to 500 units, unit costs will supporting empirical work has been done. Consistent with the fall from $130 million ($80 million variable costs and $50 theory, however; a study by Harvard business historian Alfred million fixed costs per unit), to $70 million ($60 million Chandler suggests the ex-istence of first-mover advantages is an variable costs plus $10 million fixed costs per unit). Obviously, important factor in explaining the dominance of firms from increasing returns to specialization are very important in this in- certain nations in certain Industries. The number of firms is dustry. Just how important they are can be appreciated by the very limited in many global industries, including the chemical fact that the list price for a new Boeing 777 is about $120 industry, the heavy construction equipment industry, the heavy million. Thus, if Boeing sells only 100 aircraft it will not make truck industry, the tire industry, the consumer electron-ics any money on this product. If it sells 500 aircraft, due to scale industry, the jet engine industry, and the computer software economies and learning effects it will make acceptable profits. industry. World demand is large enough to support only a limited Perhaps the most contentious implication of the new trade number of aircraft producers at high output levels. Forecasts theory is the argument that it generates for government suggest that the global market for long-range air-craft with a intervention and strategic trade policy. New trade theorists stress seating capacity of about 300, such as the 777, will be about the role of luck, entrepreneurship, and innovation in giving a 1,500 aircraft between 1997 and 2008. If we assume that Boeing firm first mover advantages. According to this argument, the has to sell about 500 aircraft to make a decent return on its reason Boeing was the first mover in commercial jet aircraft investment, this suggests that the world market is large enough manufacture-rather than firms like Great Britain’s De--Havilland to support only three producers profitably! and Hawker Siddely, or Holland’s Fokker, all of which could have been -was that Boeing was both lucky and innovative. One Implications way Boeing was lucky is that De-Havilland shot itself in the New trade theory has important implications. The theory foot when its Comet jet airliner, introduced two years earlier suggests that a country may predominate in the export of a than Boeing’s first jet airliner, the 7,07, was found to be full of good simply because it was lucky enough to have one or more serious technological flaws. Had De-Havilland not made some firms among the first to produce that good. Underpinning this serious technological mistakes! Great Britain might now be the argument is the notion of first, mover advantages, which are world’s leading exporter of commercial jet aircraft! Boeing’s the economic and strategic advantages that accrue to early innovativeness was demonstrated by its independent develop- entrants into an industry. Because they are able to gain econo- ment of the technologi-cal know-how required to build a mies of scale and learning effects, the early entrants in an commercial jet airliner. Several new trade theorists have pointed industry may get a lock on the world market that discourages out, however, that Boeing’s R&D was largely paid for by the subsequent entry. First movers’ ability to benefit from increas- U.S. gov-ernment; the 707 was a spin off from a government- ing returns creates a barrier to entry: In the commercial aircraft funded military program. Herein lies a rationale for government industry, for example, the fact that Boeing and Airbus are intervention. By the sophisticated and judicious use of already in the industry and have the benefits of economies of subsidies, could a government increase the chances of its scale and learning effects discourages new entry and reen-forces domestic firms becoming first movers in newly emerging the dominance1bf America and Europe in the trade of industries, as the U .S. government apparently did with Boe- commercial jet aircraft. This dominance is further reenforced ing? If this is possible, and the new trade theory suggests it because global demand may not be sufficient to profitably might be, then we have an economic rationale for a proactive support another producer in the industry. So although Japanese trade policy that is at variance with the free trade prescriptions of firms might be able to compete in the market, they have decided the trade theories we have reviewed so far. not to enter the industry but to ally themselves as major subcontractors with primary producers (e.g., Mitsubishi Heavy Nation Competitive Advantage: Pointer’s Diamond Industries is a major subcontractor for Boeing on the 767 and In 1990, Michael porter of the Harvard Business School 777 programs). published the results of intensive research effort that attempted New trade theory is at variance with the Heckscher-Ohlin theory, to determine why some nations succeed and others fail in which suggests that a country will predominate in the export of international competition. Porter and his team looked at 100 a product-when it is particularly well endowed with those industries in 10 nations. factors used intensively in its manufacture. New trade theorists argue that the United States leads in exports of commercial jet aircraft not because it is better endowed with the factors of production required to manufacture aircraft, but because one of the first movers in the industry, Boeing, was a U.S. firm. The new trade theory is not at variance with the theory of compara- © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 27
  • Porter maintains that two additional variables can influence the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Figure 2.6 Firm Strategy national diamond in important ways: chance and government. Determinants of National Competitive Advantage: Structure, and Chance events, such as major innovations, can reshape industry Poter’s Diamond Rivalry structure and provide the opportunity for one nation’s firms to supplant another’s. Government, by its choice of policies, can Factor Demand detract from or improve national advantage. For example, Endowments Conditions regulation can alter home demand conditions, an-titrust policies can influence the intensity of rivalry within an industry, and Related and government investments in education can change factor Supporting endowments. Industries Factor Endowments Factor endowments lie at the center of the Heckscher-Ohlin The book that contains the results of this work, The Competi- theory. While Porter does not propose anything radically new, tive Advantage of nation, has made an important contribution he does analyze the characteristics of factors of production. He to thinking about trade. Like the work of the new trade recognizes hierarchies among factors, distinguishing between theorists, Porter’s work was driven by a belief that existing basic factors (e.g., natural resources, climate, location, and theories of international trade told only part of the story. For demographics) and advanced factors (e.g., communication Porter, the essen-tial task was to explain why a nation achieves infrastructure, sophisticated and skilled labor, research, facilities, international success in a particular industry. Why does Japan do and technological know-how). He argues that advanced factors so well in the automobile industry? Why does Switzerland excel are the most significant for competitive advantage. Unlike the in the production and export of precision instruments and naturally endowed basic factors, advanced factors are a product pharmaceuticals? Why do Germany and the United States do so of investment by individuals, companies, and govern-ments. well in the chemical industry? These questions cannot be Thus, government investments in basic and higher education, answered easily by the Heckscher-Ohlin theory, and the theory by improving the general skill and knowledge level of the of comparative advantage offers only a partial explanation. The population and by stimulating advanced research at higher theory of comparative advantage would say that Switzerland education institutions, can upgrade a nation’s advanced factors. excels in the production and export of precision instruments because it uses its resources very productively in these industries. The relationship between advanced and basic factors is complex. Although this may be correct, this does not explain why Basic factors can provide an initial advantage that is subse- Switzerland is more productive in this industry than Great quently reinforced and extended by investment in advanced Britain, Germany, or Spain. Porter tries to solve this puzzle. factors. Conversely, disadvantages in basic factors can create pressures to in-vest in advanced factors. An obvious example Porter theorizes that four broad attributes of a nation shape the of this phenomenon is Japan, a country that lacks arable land environment in which local firms compete and these attributes and mineral deposits and yet through investment has built a promote or impede the creation of competitive advantage (see substantial endowment of advanced factors. Porter notes that Figure 2.6). These attributes are Japan’s large pool of engineers (reflecting a much higher • Factor endowments-a nation’s position in factors of number of engineering graduates per capita than almost any production such as skilled labor or the infrastructure other nation) has been vital to Japan’s success in many manufac- necessary to compete in a given industry. turing industries. • Demand conditions—the nature of home demand for the Demand Conditions industry’s product or service. Porter emphasizes the role home demand plays in upgrading • Relating and supporting industries—the presence or absence competitive advantage. Firms are typically most sensitive to the of supplier industries and related industries that are needs of their closest customers. Thus, the characteristics of internationally competitive. home demand are particularly important in shaping the • Firm strategy, structure, and rivalry—the conditions attributes of domestically made products and in creating governing how companies are pressures for innovation and quality. Porter -argues that a nation’s firms gain competitive advantage if their domestic Created, organized, and managed and the nature of domestic consumers are sophisticated and demanding. Such consumers rivalry. pressure local firms to meet, stan-dards of product quality and Porter speaks of these four attributes as constituting the to produce innovative products. Porter notes that Japan’s diamond. He argues that firms are most likely to succeed in sophisticated and knowledgeable buyers of cameras helped industries or industry segments where the diamond is most stimulate the Japanese camera industry to improve product favorable. He also argues that the diamond is a mutually quality and to introduce innovative model, A similar example reinforcing system. The effect of one attribute is contingent on can be found in the wireless telephone equipment industry, the state of others. For example, Porter argues favorable where sophisticated and demanding local customers in demand conditions will not result in competitive advantage Scandinavia helped push Nokia of Finland and Ericsson of unless the state of rivalry is sufficient to cause firms to respond Sweden to invest in cellular phone technology long before to them. demand for cellular phones took off in other developed © Copy Right: Rai University 28 11.154
  • nations As a result, Nokia and Ericsson, together with persistence of competitive advantage in an industry. Vigorous INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Motorola, today are dominant players in the global cellular domestic rivalry induces firms to look for ways to improve telephone equipment industry. Finland has the highest efficiency, which makes them better international competitors. penetration rate for mobile phones in the world with more Domestic rivalry creates pressures to innovate, to improve than 70 percent of Finns owning a wireless handset. The case quality, to reduce cost, and to invest in upgrading advanced of Nokia is reviewed in more depth in the accompanying factors. All this helps to create world-class competitors. Porter Management Focus. cites the case of Japan: Related and Supporting Industries Nowhere is the role of domestic rivalry mare evident than in The third broad attribute of national advantage in an industry Japan, where it is all-out warfare in which many companies fail is the presence of suppliers or related industries that are to achieve profitability. With goals that stress market share, internationally competitive. The benefits of investments in Japanese companies engage in a continuing struggle to outdo advanced factors of production by related and supporting each other. Shares fluctuate markedly. The process is promi- industries can spill over into an industry, thereby helping it nently covered in the business press. Elaborate rankings achieve a strong competitive position internationally. Swedish measure which strength in fabricated steel products (e.g., ball bearings and Companies are most popular with university graduates. The cutting tools) has drawn on strengths in Sweden’s specialty steel rate of new product and process development is breathtaking, industry. Technological leadership in the US. Semiconductor A similar point about the stimulating effects of strong industry until the mid-1980s provided the basis for U.s. success domestic competition can be with regard to the rise of Nokia in personal computers and several other technically advanced of Finland to global preeminence in the market for cellular electronic products. Similarly, Switzerland’s success in pharma- telephone equipment. Far details see the Management Focus. ceuticals is closely related to its previous international success in Evaluating Porter’s Theory the technologically related dye industry. Porter contends that the degree to which a nation is likely to One consequence of this process is that successful industries achieve international success in a certain industry is a function of with in a country tend to be grouped into clusters of related the combined impact of factor endowments, domestic demand industries. This was one of the most pervasive findings of conditions, related and supporting industries, and domestic Porter’s study. One such cluster is the German textile and rivalry. He argues that the presence of all four components is apparel sector, which includes high-quality cotton, wool, usually required for this diamond to boost competitive synthetic fibers, sewing machine needles, and a wide range of performance (although there are exceptions). Porter also textile machinery. Such clusters are important, because valuable contends that government can influence each of the four knowledge can flow between the firms within a geographic components of the diamond. cluster, benefiting all within that cluster. Knowledge flaws occur when employees move between firms within a region and when The Rise of Finland’s Nokia national industry associations bring employees from different The mobile telephone equipment industry is one of the great companies together for regular conferences or workshops. growth stories of recent years. The number of wireless subscribers has been expanding rapidly. By the end of 2000, Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry there were over 550 million wireless subscribers worldwide, up The fourth broad attribute of national competitive advantage in from less than 10 million in 1990. Forecasts suggest that by Porter’s model is the Strategy, structure, and rivalry of firms 2004, the number could reach 1.4 billion. Three firms currently within a nation. Porter makes two important points here. First, dominate the global market for wireless equipment (e.g., different nations are characterized by different management wireless phones, base station equipment, digital switches): ideologies. Which either help them or do not help them to Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson. Nokia leads the market in build national competitive advantage. For example, Porter notes mobile telephone sales and is gaining rapidly on Motorola in a predominance of engineers in tap management at German the network equipment segment. and Japanese firms. He attributes this to these firms’ emphasis Nokia’s roots are in Finland, not normally a country that comes on improving manufacturing processes and product design. In to mind when one talks about leading edge technology contrast, Porter notes a predominance of people with finance companies. In the 1980s, Nokia was a rambling Finnish backgrounds leading many U.S. firms. He links this to. U.S. conglomerate with activities that embraced tire manufacturing, firms’ lack of attention to improving manufacturing processes paper production, consumer electronics, and telecommunication and product design, particularly during the 1970s and 80s. He equipment. By 2000 it had transformed itself into a focused also argues that the dominance of finance has led to a corre- telecommunications equipment manufacturer with a global sponding overemphasis on maximizing short-term financial reach, sales of $24 billion, and earnings of $4.5 billion. How returns. According to Porter, one consequence of these different has this former conglomerate emerged to take a global leader- management ideologies has been a relative loss of U.S. competi- ship position in wireless telecom munication equipment? Much tiveness in those engineering-based industries where of the answer lies in the history, geography, and political manufacturing processes and product design issues are all- economy of Finland-and its Nordic neighbors. important (e.g., the automobile industry). The story starts in 1981 when the Nordic nations got together Porter’s second point is that there is a strong association to, create the world’s first international mobile telephone between vigorous domestic rivalry and the creation and © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 29
  • network. They had good reason to become pioneers; in the with that prevailing in most developed nations until the late INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT sparsely populated and inhospitably cold areas, it cost far too 1980s and early 1990s; domestic telephone monopolies typically much to lay down a traditional wire line telephone service. Yet purchased equipment from a dominant local supplier or made the same geographic features make telecommunications all, the it themselves. Nokia responded to this competitive pressure by more valuable; people driving through the Arctic winter and do-ing everything possible to drive down its manufacturing owners of remote northern houses need a telephone to cost while still staying at the leading edage of wireless technol- summon help if things go wrong. As a result, Sweden, Norway, ogy. and Finland became the first nations to take wireless telecom- The consequences of these forces are clear. Nokia is now the munications seri-ously. They found, for example, that while it leader in digital wireless technology, which is the wave of the cost up to $800 per subscriber to bring a traditional wireline future. Many now regard Finland as the lead market for wireless service to remote locations in the far north, the same locations telephone services. If you want to see the future of wireless, could be linked by wireless telephones for only $500 per person. you don’t go to New York or San Francisco, you go to Helsinki, As a consequence, by 1994, 12 percent of people in Scandinavia where Finns use their wireless handsets not just to talk to each owned wireless phones compared with less than 6, percent in other, but also to browse the Web, execute e-commerce the United States, the world’s second most developed market. transactions, control household heating and lighting systems, This leadership has continued. In mld-2000 some 70 percent of or purchase Coke from a wireless-enabled vending machine. the, population in Finland owned a wireless phone, compared Nokia has gained this lead because Scandinavia started switching with 30 percent in the United States. to digital technology five years before the rest of the world. Either positively or negatively. Factor endowments can be Spurred on by its cost-conscious Finnish customers, Nokia now affected by subsidies, policies toward capital markets, policies has the lowest cost structure of any cellular phone equipment toward education, and so on. Government can shape domestic manufac-turer in the world, making it a more profitable enter- demand through local product standards or with regulations prise than Motorola, its leading global rival. Nokia’s operating that mandate or influence buyer needs. Government policy can margins in 2000 were 20 percent, compared with 6.4 percent at influence supporting and related industries through regulation Motorola. and influence firm rivalry through such devices as capital market Sources: “Lessons from the Frozen North,” The Economist, regulation, tax policy, and antitrust laws. October 8, .1994, pp. 76-77; G. Edmondson, “Grabbing If Porter is correct, we would expect his model to predict the Markets form the giants,” Business Week. Special Issue: 21st pattern of international trade that we observe in the real world. Century Capitalism, 1995, pp. 156; company news releases; “ A Countries should be exporting products from those industries Finnish Fable,” The Economist, October 14, 2000; “To the where all four components of the diamond are favorable, While Finland Base’ Station,” The Economist, October 9, 1999, pp. importing in those areas where the. Components are not 23-27; and “A Survey of Telecommunications,” The Econo- favorable. Is he correct? We simply do not know. Porter’s theory mist, October 9, 1999. has not yet been subjected to independent empirical testing. Location Implications Much about the theory rings true, but the same can be said for Underlying most of the theories we have discussed is the the new trade theory, the theory of comparative advantage, and notion that different countries have particular advantages in the Heckscher-Ohlin theory. It may be that each of these different productive activities. Thus, from a profit perspective, it theories, which complement each other, explains some-thing makes sense for a firm to disperse its productive activities to about the pattern of international trade. those countries where, according to the theory of international Implication for Business trade, they can be formed most efficiently. If design can be Why does all this matter for business? There are at least three performed most efficiently in France, that is where design main implications for international businesses of the material facilities should be located; if the manufacture of basic compo- discussed in this chapter: location implications, first-mover nents can be performed most efficiently in Singapore, that is implications, and policy implications. where they should be manufactured; and if final assembly can Nokia, as a long-time telecommunication equipment Supplier, be performed most efficiently in China, that is where final was well positioned to take advantage of this development. assembly should be performed. The result is a global web of Other forces were also at work at in Finland that helped Nokia productive-13ctivities, with different activities being performed develop its competitive edge. Unlike virtually every other in different locations around the globe depending on consider- developed nation, Finland has never had a national telephone ations of comparative advantage, factor endowments, and the monopoly. Instead the country’s telephone services have long like. If the firm does not do this, it may find itself at a been provided by about 50 autonomous local telephone competitive disadvantage relative to firms that do. companies, whose elected boards set prices) by referendum Consider the production of a laptop computer, a process with (which naturally means low prices). This army of independent four major stages: (1) basic research and development of the and cost-conscious tele-phone service providers prevented product design, (2) manufac-ture of standard electronic Nokia from taking anything for granted in its home county. components (e.g., memory chips), (3) manufacture of advanced With typical finish pragmatism, they were willing to buy from components (e.g., flat-top color display screens and micropro- the lowest-cost supplier, whether that was Nokia, Ericsson, cessors), and (4) final assembly. Basic R&D requires a pool of Motorola, or someone else. This situation contrasted sharply highly skilled and educated workers with good backgrounds in © Copy Right: Rai University 30 11.154
  • microelectronics. The two countries with a comparative the best interests of a country, although it may not always be in INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT advantage in basic microelectronics R&D and design are Japan the -best interest of an individual firm. Many firms recognize and the United States; so most producers of laptop computers that and lobby for open markets. locate their R&D facilities in one, or both, of these countries. For example, when the U.S. government announced in 1991 its (Apple, IBM, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Sony intention to place a tariff on Japanese imports of liquid crystal all have major R&D facilities in both Japan and the United display (LCD) screens, IBM and Apple Computer protested States.). strongly. Both IBM and Apple pointed Out that -(1) Japan was The manufacture of standard electronic components is a capital- the lowest-cost source of LCD screens, (2) they used these intensive process requiring semiskilled labor, and cost pressures screens in their own laptop computers, and (3) the proposed are intense. The best locations for such activities today are places tariff, by increasing the cost of LCD screens, would increase the such as Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea. These cost of laptop computers produced by IBM and Apple, thus countries have pools of relatively skilled, low-cost lobor. Thus, making them less competitive in the world market. In other many producers of laptop computers have standard compo- words, the tariff, designed to protect U.S. firms, would be self- nents, such as memory chips, produced at these locations. defeating. In response to these pressures, the U.S, government The manufacture of advanced components such as micropro- reversed its posture. cessors and display screens is a capital-intensive process requiring Unlike IBM and Apple, however, businesses do not always skilled labor. Because cost pressures are not so intense at this lobby for free tread. In the United States, for example, restric- stage, these components can be-and are- -manufactured in tions on imports of automobiles, machine tools, textiles, and countries with high labor costs that also have pools of highly steel are the result of direct pressure by U.S. firms on the skilled labor (primarily Japan and the United States). government. In some cases, the government responded by Finally, assembly is a relatively labor-intensive process requiring getting for eign companies to agree to “voluntary” restrictions only low-skilled labor, and cost pressures are intense. As a on their imports, using the implicit threat of more comprehen- result, final assembly may be carried out in a country such as sive formal trade barriers to get them to adhere to these Mexico, which has an abundance of low-cost, low-skilled labor. agreements. In other cases, the government used what are called “antidumping” actions to justify tariffs on Imports from other A laptop computer produced by a U.S. manufacturer may be nations. designed in California, have its, standard components produced in Taiwan and Singapore, its advanced components produced in As predicted by international trade theory, many of these Japan and the United States, its final assembly in Mexico, and be agreements have been self-defeating, such as the voluntary sold in the United States or elsewhere in the world. By dispers- restriction on machine tool imports agreed to in1985. Due to ing production activities to different locations around the globe, limited import competition from more efficient foreign the U.S. manufacturer is taking advantage of the differences suppliers, the prices of machine tools in the United States rose between countries identified by the various theories of interna- to higher levels than would have prevailed under free trade. tional trade. Because machine tools are used throughout the manufacturing industry, the result was to increase the costs of First Mover Implications U.S.manufacturing in general, creating a corresponding loss in According to the new trade theory, firms that establish a first- world market competitiveness. Shielded from international mover advantage with regard to-the production of a particular competition by import barriers, the U.S. machine tool industry new product may subsequently dominate global trade in that had no incentive to increase its efficiency. Consequently, it lost product. This is particularly true in industries where the global many of its export markets to more efficient foreign competi- market can profitably support only a limited number of firms, tors. As a consequence of this misguided action, the U.S. such as the aerospace market, but early commitments also seem machine tool industry shrunk during the period when the to be important in less concentrated industries such as the agreement was in force. For anyone schooled in international market for cellular telephone equipment (see the Management trade theory, this was not surprising. Focus on Nokia), For the individual firm, the clear message is Finally Porter’s theory of national competitive advantage also that it pays to invest substantial financial resources in trying to contains policy implications. Porter’s theory suggests that it is in build a first-mover, or early-mover, advantage, even if that the best interest of business for a firm to invest in upgrading means several years of substantial losses before a new venture advanced factors of production; for example, to invest in better becomes profitable. training for its employees and to increase its commitment to Policy Implications research and development. It is also in the best interests of The theories of international trade also matter to international business to lobby the government to adopt policies that have a businesses be-cause firms are major players on the international favorable impact on each component of the national diamond. trade scene. Business firms -produce exports, and business Thus, according to Porter, businesses should urge government firms import the products of other countries. Because of their to increase investment in education, infrastructure, and basic pivotal role in international trade, businesses can export a research (Science all these enhance advanced factors) and to strong influence on government trade policy, lobbying to adopt policies that promote strong competition within promote free trade or trade restrictions. The theories of domestic markets (since this makes firms stronger international international trade claim that promoting free trade is generally in competitors, according to Porter’s findings). © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 31
  • Case Study and this in a nation of nearly 1 billion people. With just 22 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT telephone lines per 1,000 people, India has one of the lowest The Rise of the Indian Software Industry penetration rates for fixed telephone lines in Asia, if not the As a relatively poor country, India is not nor-mally thought off world. Internet connections numbered less than 100,000 in as a nation capable of building a major presence in a high- 1998, compared to 60 million in the United States. But sales of technology industry, such as computer software. In little over a personal computers are starting to take off, and the rapid decade, however, the Indian software industry has astounded growth of mobile telephones in India’s main cities is to some its skeptics and emerged from ob-scurity to become an impor- extent compensating for the lack of fixed telephone lines. tant force in the global software industry. Be-tween 1991-1992 and 1999-2000, sales of Indian software companies grew at a In explaining the success of their industry, India’s software compound rate in excess of 60 percent annually. In 1991-1992, entrepreneurs point to a number of factors. Al-though the the industry had sales totaling $388 million. By 2000 they were general level of education in India is low, In-dia’s important around $6c billion. By the late 1990s, more than 900 software middle class is highly educated and its top educational institu- companies in India em-ployed 200,000 software engineers, the tions are world class. Also, India- has always emphasized third largest concentration of such talent in the world. engineering. Another great plus from an international perceptive is that English is the working language throughout much of middle-class In--dia-a remnant from the days of the British raja. Then there is the wage rate. American software engineers are increasingly scarce, and the basic salary has been driven up to one of the highest for any occupational group in the country, with entry-level programmers earning $70,000 per year. An entry-level programmer in India, in contrast, starts at around $5,000 per year, which is very low by international standards but high by Indian stan-dards. Salaries for programmers are rising rapidly in Much of this growth was powered by exports. In 1985, Indian India, but so is productivity. In 1992, productivity was around software exports were worth less than $10 mil-lion. They $21,000 per software engineer. By 1997, the fig-ure had risen to surged to $1.8 billion in 1997 and hit a record $4 billion in 2000. $45,000. As a consequence of these fac-tors, by 2000 work done The future looks very bright. Powered by continued export-led in India for -U.S. software companies amounted to $25 to $35 growth, India’s National Asso-ciation of Software and Service an hour, compared to $75 to $100 per hour for software Companies projects that total software revenues generated by development done in the United States. Indian companies will hit $28 billion by 2004-2005 and $87 Another factor helping India is that satellite commu-nications billion by 2007-2008. As a testament to this growth, many have removed distance as an obstacle to doing business for foreign software companies are now investing heavily in Indian foreign clients. Because software is nothing more than a stream software development operations including Microsoft, IBM, of zeros and ones, it can be trans-ported at the speed of light Oracle, and Computer Associates, the four largest U.S.-based and negligible cost to any point in the world. In a world of software houses. Equally significantly, two out-of every five instant communication, India’s geographical position between global companies now source their soft-ware services from Europe and the United States has given it a time zone advan- India. tage. Indian companies have been able to exploit the rapidly Most of the current growth of the Indian software industry has expand-ing international market for outsourced-software been based on contract or project-based work for foreign clients. services, including the expanding market for remote mainte- Many Indian companies, for example, maintain applications for nance. Indian engineers can fix software bugs, up-grade their clients, convert code, or migrate software from one systems, or process data overnight while their users in Western platform to another. Increasingly, Indian companies are also companies are asleep. involved in important development projects for foreign clients. To maintain their competitive position, Indian soft-ware For example, TCS, India’s largest software company, has an companies are now investing heavily in training and leading- alliance with Ernst & Young under which TCS will develop and edge programming skills. They have also been enthusiastic maintain customized software for Ernst & Young’s global adopters of international quality stan-dards, particularly ISO clients. TCS also has a development alliance with Mi-crosoft 9000 certification. Indian com-panies are also starting to make under which the company developed a paperless National Share forays into the application and shrink-wrapped software Depositary system for the Indian stock market based on business, pri-marily with applications aimed at the domestic Microsoft’s Windows NT operating system and SQL Server market. It may only be a matter of time, however, before database technology. Indian compa-nies are also moving Indian companies start to compete head to head with compa- aggressively into e-commerce projects. From almost zero in nies such as Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP in the 1997, e-commerce or e-business projects now account for about applications business. 10 percent of all software development and service work in India and are - projected to reach 20 percent within two years. Sources: P. Taylor, “Poised for Global Growth,” Financial Times: India’s Software Industry, December), 1997, pp. 1,8; The Indian software industry- has emerged despite a poor P.Taylor, “An Industry on the Up and Up,” Financial Times; information technology infrastructure. The in-stalled base of India’s Software Industry December 3, 1997, p. 3; Krishna personal computers in India stood at just 3 million in 1999, © Copy Right: Rai University 32 11.154
  • Guha, “Strategic Alliances with Global Partners,” Financial INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Times: India’s Software Industry, December 3, 1997, p. 6; “Indian SW Industry to Touch $13 Billion in 2001-02,”- Computers Today, December’ 15,2000, pp. 14-17; and United Nations, Human Development Report, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), and Table 12. Case Discussion Questions 1. To what extent does the theory of comparative advantage explain the rise of the Indian software industry? 2. To what extent does the Heckscher-Ohlin theory explain the rise of the Indian software industry? 3. Use Michael Porter’s diamond to analyze the rise of the Indian software industry. Does this analysis help explain the rise of this industry? 4. Which of the above theories-comparative advan-tage, Heckscher-Ohlin, or Porter’s—gives the best explanation of the-rise of the Indian software indus-try? Why? Activity (Questions): - Q1) Discuss the theory of Absolute Advantage in detail and compare it with theory of comparative advantage? Q2) What is Heckscher-Ohlin theory, describe? Q3) Write a detailed note on product life cycle theory of international trade? Q4) Discuss in detail about Michael porter ‘s theory of international trade? © Copy Right: Rai University 11.154 33