From the estimable Chug

by on January 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm in Data Source, Economics | Permalink

In The Economist’s Pocket World in Figures, 2013 Edition, in which category/table does the United States rank between North Korea and Greece?

Least trade dependent as % of GDP, 2010
NK 9.3%
US 11.7%
Greece 13.2%

Bermuda is #1 at 9.2%

Page 32



Is it because of the heavy weight of their International Business Centre?  I do not know.

1 Ray Lopez January 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I’m surprised North Korea is so high. Wow, 10%! Does not this rebut your point about the actual foreign content of stuff being a mere single digit fraction of GDP? It was a while ago on this blog, too bothered to search for it. Lies and statistics.

2 Arthur January 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm

“Least trade dependent as % of GDP”

What does this mean? Does not seem even close to the numbers “import / GDP” or “export / GDP” or “Trade / GDP” on world bank database.

3 Norman Pfyster January 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Amount of things for which there is no domestic substitute? Dunno.

4 chug January 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

The footnote for that section: “Average of imports plus exports of goods”

Here is a link to the book:

5 chug January 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

In the accompanying table, Most Trade Dependent, the top 4 are
1. Zimbabwe, 125.0%
2. Vietnam, 108.9%
3. Guyana, 101.1%
4. Singapore, 100.7%

6 DocMerlin January 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

In other words, almost every economy is an open economy.

7 Lotta Moberg January 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Weird indeed… According to the World Bank (, Trade to GDP in the US i 32% of GDP. Imports in goods in services 18 % (2011 figures). What may they be referring to?

8 dearieme January 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

“Is it because of the heavy weight of their International Business Centre? ” Let’s hope that it doesn’t make Bermuda capsize.

9 Bob Knaus January 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

The percentages seem off — the correct number for the US is about 32%. By comparison, Luxembourg is over 300%. Small nations are generally more trade-dependent.

Possibly the percentage refers to exports only? In that case, Bermuda makes perfect sense. It is a prosperous nation which exports almost nothing.

If foreign tourism were counted as an export (which I think makes a lot of sense) it would change the numbers considerably for Bermuda, Greece, and many other small scenic countries.

10 Rory Sutherland January 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Tourism alone constitutes about 18-20% of Greek GDP. Not all of that will be from overseas visitors, but I suspect most will be.

11 Dave Tufte January 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Tyler and Alex: you should consider including this factoid in your principles text.

I’ve made this point in principles for close to 20 years. I’ve taught mostly in business schools where “global” everything is a fetish. An important feature of what makes America different from other countries is that so much of our trade is interstate rather than intercountry.

12 Emil January 24, 2013 at 3:24 am

The low figure for the US seems to me to just be a function of the size of the economy (in terms of population and distance). A large economy has more specialised people to trade with within the country which means that there is less benefit of trading with foreigners whereas a large country means that there is geographic, meteorologic and geologic differences within the country which means that production dependent on raw materials is already diverse within the country.

I guess the main point is that what matters is trade, not with whom it’s done. Sort of what Don B. keeps repeating on Cafe Hayek.

13 Eric January 24, 2013 at 9:29 am

The International Business Center in Bermuda, is this the place where many major US corporations stow their profits tax-free? That would seemingly inflate their “domestic” economy quite a bit, whereas in actuality the vast majority of that activity is taking place elsewhere.

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