The termaccess to medicines encompasses the array of problems faced by the world’s lowest-income inhabitants, who often cannot afford, or do not have access to, medications that could greatly reduce the disease burden under which they suffer.
A country is said to have an absolute advantage over another country in the production of a good or service if it can produce that good or service (the ‘‘output’’) using fewer real resources (like capital or labor, the ‘‘inputs’’).
Around 1980, our understanding of international trade the exchange of merchandise and services among the countries of the world began to change. In response to emerging patterns of trade within (rather than between) manufacturing and service sectors, new theories emerged based on imperfect competition and economies of scale, supplementing the old stories of comparative advantage based on factor or resource endowments in which, for example, a country with a relatively large amount of labor would export labor-intensive goods. At the same time, trade policy agendas rapidly expanded into new areas such as trade in services, intellectual property, a new generation of preferential trade agreements, and the settlement of disputes. Trade economists and trade lawyers became acquainted. Unforeseen issues emerged out of or alongside of trade negotiations such as trade and the environment, trade and labor, and trade and public health. Trade-related entries in this Encyclopedia reflect this new reality. Standard models of international trade (the Ricardian model, the Heckscher-Ohlin model, and the specific-factorsmodel) are given their due by world-renowned trade theorists. New Trade Theory (i.e., based on oligopoly and monopolistic competition) also receives attention, as do its applications in areas such as theNewEconomicGeography. We supplement these core models with entries on a large set of basic concepts, from absolute and comparative advantage to terms of trade and fragmentation. A host of trade policy instruments are covered, from basic tariffs to nontariff measures, including quotas, tariff rate quotas, and technical barriers to trade. A large number of institutions and agreements are covered, fromthe obvious (e.g., theWorld Trade Organization) to the less well known (e.g., the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). We also give attention to commonly used tools of analysis, such as revealed comparative advantage, effective protection, and gravity models. Finally, we cover a range of special issues such as access to medicines, gender, and the illegal drugs trade.