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Optimism bias? The elasticity puzzle in international economics revisited

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  • Corbo, Vesna
  • Osbat, Chiara

Abstract

The elasticity of substitution between domestic and imported goods is a central parameter in macroeconomic models, but after decades of empirical studies there is no consensus on its magnitude. Earlier literature using time series arrives at low values, while more recent studies using panel-based econometric methods on disaggregated data find higher values. We examine the econometric methodology of this more recent literature, which follows the seminal work by Feenstra (1994), looking in more detail at the effect on the results of the non-linear mapping between reduced-form and structural parameters. Our main contribution is the use of bootstrap methods, which offer more insight into the Feenstra method and can explain why researchers applying it may tend to find high estimates. The bootstrap not only allows us to obtain considerably less biased estimates of the structural elasticity parameter, but also to better characterize their accuracy, a point vastly overlooked by the literature. JEL Classification: C14, C23, F14

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1482.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121482

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Keywords: Bootstrap; Elasticity of Substitution; heterogeneity; trade elasticities;

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  1. International Monetary Fund, 2009. "Elasticity Optimism," IMF Working Papers 09/279, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Emmanuel Flachaire, 2001. "The Wild Bootstrap, Tamed at Last," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 58, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Russell Davidson & Emmanuel Flachaire, 2001. "The wild bootstrap, tamed at last," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6560, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Hélène Erkel-Rousse & Daniel Mirza, 2002. "Import price elasticities: reconsidering the evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(2), pages 282-306, May.
  5. Giuseppe Cavaliere & Anders Rahbek & A.M.Robert Taylor, 2008. "Testing for Co-integration in Vector Autoregressions with Non-Stationary Volatility," CREATES Research Papers 2008-50, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  6. Cavaliere, Giuseppe & Rahbek, Anders & Taylor, A.M. Robert, 2010. "Cointegration Rank Testing Under Conditional Heteroskedasticity," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(06), pages 1719-1760, December.
  7. Flachaire, Emmanuel, 2005. "Bootstrapping heteroskedastic regression models: wild bootstrap vs. pairs bootstrap," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 361-376, April.
  8. Murray C. Kemp, 1962. "Errors Of Measurement And Bias In Estimates Of Import Demand Parameters1," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 38(83), pages 369-372, 09.
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