The earliest statement of the principle of comparative advantage is associated with:
|a. Adam Smith
b. David Ricardo
c. Eli Heckscher
d. Bertil Ohlin
The Correct Answer Is:
- b. David Ricardo
The correct answer is indeed “b. David Ricardo.” David Ricardo is associated with the earliest statement of the principle of comparative advantage, which is a fundamental concept in economics. Let’s delve into more detail about why this answer is correct and why the other options are not:
b. David Ricardo:
David Ricardo, a British economist who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, is best known for his work on international trade and the principle of comparative advantage.
In his book “Principles of Political Economy and Taxation,” published in 1817, Ricardo introduced the idea that countries should specialize in producing the goods in which they have a comparative advantage and trade with other countries to maximize overall economic welfare.
The principle of comparative advantage states that even if one country can produce all goods more efficiently than another country, both countries can still benefit from trade if each specializes in producing the goods in which it has a comparative advantage.
This concept revolutionized the way economists and policymakers think about international trade and laid the foundation for free trade theories.
Ricardo used a simple numerical example involving two countries, Portugal and England, and two goods, cloth and wine, to illustrate the concept of comparative advantage. He showed that even if one country could produce both goods more efficiently, it would still be beneficial for them to specialize and trade based on their relative efficiency in producing each good.
Now, let’s explain why the other options are not correct:
a. Adam Smith:
Adam Smith, another influential economist from the 18th century, is often associated with the theory of absolute advantage, which predates the concept of comparative advantage. While Smith made significant contributions to economics, including his famous work “The Wealth of Nations” (1776), he did not explicitly formulate the concept of comparative advantage as Ricardo did.
Smith’s theory focused on the idea that countries should specialize in producing goods in which they have an absolute advantage, i.e., they can produce more efficiently than other countries.
c. Eli Heckscher:
Eli Heckscher was a Swedish economist who made notable contributions to international trade theory. He is most famous for the Heckscher-Ohlin model, which explores the determinants of comparative advantage based on factor endowments (e.g., labor and capital).
While Heckscher’s work is essential in understanding trade patterns, the concept of comparative advantage, as formulated by Ricardo, predates the Heckscher-Ohlin model. Eli Heckscher’s work built upon the ideas of both David Ricardo and Bertil Ohlin.
d. Bertil Ohlin:
Bertil Ohlin was another Swedish economist and a collaborator of Eli Heckscher. Together, they developed the Heckscher-Ohlin model, which is a fundamental theory in international trade. The Heckscher-Ohlin model expanded upon the concept of comparative advantage, focusing on the role of factor endowments (such as labor and capital) in determining a country’s comparative advantage.
However, it was David Ricardo who first formulated the concept of comparative advantage in the early 19th century, while Ohlin’s and Heckscher’s work came later and built upon Ricardo’s ideas.
In summary, the earliest statement of the principle of comparative advantage is associated with “b. David Ricardo.” His work in the early 19th century laid the foundation for modern international trade theory, emphasizing the benefits of specialization and trade based on comparative advantage.
While other economists like Adam Smith, Eli Heckscher, and Bertil Ohlin made significant contributions to the field of economics and international trade, it was Ricardo who first articulated the concept of comparative advantage in its modern form.
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