© 2020

Virtual Trade and Comparative Advantage

The Fourth Dimension


  • Makes it easier to understand theories of competitive trade models to analyze the global phenomenon of offshoring

  • Explains the occurrence of an all-round increase in productivity and economic growth due only to trade

  • Sets the stage for in-depth analysis of financial capital mobility and its consequences on the organization of firms


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. An Overview

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 3-5
    3. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 7-31
  3. The Time and the Pattern of Trade

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 35-44
    3. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 45-61
    4. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 63-68
    5. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 69-80
  4. Trade, Growth and Inequality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 81-81
    2. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 83-91
    3. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 93-108
    4. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 109-138
    5. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 139-154
  5. Firm Heterogeneity, FDI and Financial Capital

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 157-173
    3. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 175-190
    4. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 191-200
  6. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 201-201
    2. Sugata Marjit, Biswajit Mandal, Noritsugu Nakanishi
      Pages 203-207

About this book


The main purpose of this book is to expose economics graduate students and researchers to the most significant development in international trade that has taken place in the recent past. Service transactions now make up a sizeable portion of global trade. Trade in both final and intermediate inputs is done virtually through information and communication networks, raising afresh the question of the basis of trade and calling for in-depth investigation. This book succinctly comes up with a relatively new explanation for the basis of trade, thus it adds a new dimension to three existing building blocks: technology, endowment, and returns to scale.

Against a backdrop of standard Ricardian and Heckscher–Ohlin competitive models of trade, the chapters of this book nicely introduce the issue of communication cost and the difference in time zones between two trading nations. Then follow many intricate phenomena such as informality, skill formation, growth, wage inequality, and decisions regarding foreign direct investment (FDI). However, imperfectly competitive models are not dealt with in great detail as they deserve more space than can be allotted to them here. Given the nonexistence of any research-oriented in-depth analyses of competitive trade models with time-zone differences, this book is a valuable addition to the resources available to researchers and policymakers interested in deciphering recent developments in global trade patterns and the subsequent welfare effect.


Trade in business services Comparative advantage Time zones Information and communication technology Economic growth FDI Trade and factor market

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Foreign TradeKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of Economics and PoliticsVisva-Bharati UniversitySantiniketanIndia
  3. 3.Graduate School of EconomicsKobe UniversityKobeJapan

About the authors

Noritsugu NAKANISHI: Noritsugu Nakanishi is a professor of economics and the current dean of the Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University, Japan. After receiving his Doctor of Economics degree from Kobe University in 1991, he joined the faculty of Kobe University as a lecturer and was promoted to full professor in 2004. He is a member of the Japan Society of International Economics (JSIE), which is an academic association of experts in international economics and related fields in Japan. He won the Kojima Kiyoshi Prize of the JSIE in 2014. In the JSIE, he has held various executive positions such as manager, secretary-general, and standing director over the years, and  he was elected to serve as its president from 2016 through 2018. He now is an advisor of the JSIE.

In his research, Dr. Nakanishi has been working both on general equilibrium analysis of international trade and welfare and on the applications of game theory to trade policy issues. He has authored two monographs: Theoretical Analysis of Trade Liberalization—Stepwise and Piecemeal Policies and Economic Welfare (Yuhikaku, 1993; in Japanese) and Game-Theoretic Analysis of Trade Policies Under Interdependent Circumstances: Applications of the Theory of Social Situations and the Stable Set Approach (Minerva Shobo, 2010; in Japanese). He also wrote and edited one English and two Japanese textbooks on international economics: The Essence of International Trade Theory (World Scientific, 2018; in English), International Economics—Trade Theory (Minerva Shobo, 2013; in Japanese), and Theory of International Economics (Yuhikaku, 2003; in Japanese). Other academic articles by Dr. Nakanishi can be found in such leading publications as the Journal of International Economics, Review of International Economics, International Economic Review, Games and Economic Behavior, and International Journal of Game Theory.

Since 2010, Dr. Nakanishi and his colleagues have been engaged in two consecutive research projects that focus on the roles of time-zone differences in international trade. The first project was entitled “Fragmentation, Time Zones, and Their Dynamic Consequences,” which was initiated and led by the late Professor Toru Kikuchi. It began in 2010 and lasted five years. After Prof. Kikuchi’s passing in 2011, Dr. Nakanishi took over as project leader, continuing and bringing the project to complete. In 2016, he initiated a new five-year project entitled “Time Zones, Offshoring, Economic Growth and Dynamics.” Both projects have been financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: Grant-in-Aid (A) 22243024 and Grant-in-Aid (A) 16H02016.


Sugata MARJIT: Sugata Marjit, a Gold Medalist of Calcutta University, received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester (U.S.A.) in 1985 under the supervision of Prof. Ronald W. Jones. He is currently the Reserve Bank of India Professor of Industrial Economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC); External Fellow of The Leverhulme Centre for Globalization and Economic Policy at the University of Nottingham; Fellow of CES-Ifo, Munich, Germany; Project Director of the Centre for Training and Research in Public Finance and Policy, India; and a member of the State Planning and Public Policy Board, Government of West Bengal. He is a former vice chancellor of Calcutta University, former chairman of the State Council of Higher Education, and a former director of CSSSC. He received the Mahalanobis Gold Medal of the Indian Econometric Society and the VKRV Rao National Prize as a young social scientist, among only three to receive both awards. Recently he has been nominated as a distinguished (University-wide) visiting fellow of the Queen Mary University of London.

He was a professor at the Indian Statistical Institute and the first Sukhamay Chakravorty Chair professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He held visiting professorial positions at the Universities of Bonn, Berlin, Copenhagen, Cornell, Erasmus (Rotterdam), Monash, Munich, Konstanz, Paris, Sydney, New South Wales, Queensland, Pennsylvania State, Rochester, Washington, St. Louis, and the Australian National University, City University of Hong Kong, Singapore Management University, and others, and has been a visiting scholar at the IMF, ADB, IFS (UCL), and Federal Reserve Bank, St. Louis, USA.

He edits the South Asian Journal of Macroeconomics and Public Finance (SAGE, India, UK), is an associate editor of Zeitschrift Fuer Nationaolokonomie (Journal of Economics, Springer) and a member of editorial boards of many other journals. His papers have been published in leading journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economics, European Economic Review, Economic Theory, International Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Mathematical Economics, Canadian Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, International Economic Review, Economica, Oxford Economic Papers, Review of International Economics, Review of Development Economics, Economics Letters, Economic Inquiry, International Review of Economics and Finance, Indian Journal of Physics, European Physical Society Journal, PLOS One, and NATURE Climate Change, among others. Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Princeton University Press, Elsevier, SAGE, Edward Elgar, and Springer have published his books, edited volumes, and chapters in edited volumes.


Biswajit MANDAL: Biswajit Mandal teaches economics at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India. Prior to joining Visva Bharati University he worked at Balughat College as assistant professor in economics. He completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Calcutta, India. He earned his Ph.D. from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India, and received a national scholarship from the Government of India and a junior research fellowship from the University Grants Commission. He has also been honored with a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship to visit Kobe University, Kobe, Japan. He was a visiting C. V. Raman Fellow at the Department of Economics of the University at Albany-SUNY, Albany, NY, USA. He also taught at the Soka University, Tokyo, Japan. His primary area of research is international trade and development. Very recently his research interests have expanded from trade and development to health economics and applied econometrics in health economics.

Journals such as the Review of Development Economics, International Journal of Economic Theory, Economics & Politics, Economic Modelling, International Review of Economics and Finance, International Economic Journal, Global Economy Journal, Eurasian Economic Review, and Economics Bulletin are among the journals that have published Dr. Mandal’s research. He also contributed to edited volumes and conference proceedings. He has attended some 50 conferences in different countries to present his research work.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Virtual Trade and Comparative Advantage
  • Book Subtitle The Fourth Dimension
  • Authors Sugata Marjit
    Biswajit Mandal
    Noritsugu Nakanishi
  • Series Title Kobe University Monograph Series in Social Science Research
  • Series Abbreviated Title Kobe University monogr. Series in soc. sci. res.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kobe University 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-15-3905-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-981-15-3908-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-15-3906-0
  • Series ISSN 2524-504X
  • Series E-ISSN 2524-5058
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 207
  • Number of Illustrations 13 b/w illustrations, 6 illustrations in colour
  • Topics International Economics
    Development Economics
    R & D/Technology Policy
    Economic Growth
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“This excellent book is very timely. … In addition to being an excellent source for role of time in international trade, this book provides a great toolkit that may be used in future research to answer various research questions that deal with the role of time in the trade.” (Reza Oladi, Indian Economic Review, Vol. 55, 2020)