, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 227-242

The Logical Structure of International Trade Theory

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Abstract

In this paper the structuralist approach of theory reconstruction is applied to International Trade Theory. In the basic element the universal laws of the theory are stated and the general concepts are defined in terms of three sets and seven functions. Ricardo’s Theory of Comparative Advantage and the Factor Proportions Theory by Heckscher and Ohlin are reconstructed as specialisations of the basic element. Two intratheoretical constraints are formulated in order to ensure the consistency of the theory. A number of empirical studies are shown to be paradigmatic, successful or questionable applications of International Trade Theory. The reconstruction allows the assessment of the theory from a metatheoretical angle and illuminates the logical interdependencies of its components.