Sources of Comparative Advantage

Course Outline

International Trade

Course (61 videos)

Sources of Comparative Advantage

Instructor: Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University

This video discusses several factors that contribute to comparative advantage. Differences in geography, climate and natural resources give some countries a comparative advantage over others. In fact, Classical economist David Ricardo first wrote about this in the context of why it made sense for Portugal to produce wine and for England to produce cloth. Different countries may also have different proportions of capital to labor, or high-skill labor to low-skill labor. Increasing returns to scale, which are created by trade as opposed to existing naturally before trade, shows that specialization increases productivity. Finally, as we've discussed in other courses, institutions matter!

Teacher Resources



Turn captions on or off:

  1. If captions are available the (CC) icon will be visible on the player.
  2. To turn captions on, tap (CC).
  3. To turn captions off, tap (CC) again.

Select caption language: 

  1. Click the settings icon (⚙) at the bottom of the video screen.
  2. Click Subtitles/CC.
  3. Select a language.


Contribute Translations!

Join the team and help us provide world-class economics education to everyone, everywhere for free! You can also reach out to us at for more info.

Submit subtitles




We aim to make our content accessible to users around the world with varying needs and circumstances.

Currently we provide:

Are we missing something? Please let us know at