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On the Specification of the Gravity Model of Trade: Zeros, Excess Zeros and Zero-Inflated Estimation

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  • Burger, M.J.
  • van Oort, F.G.
  • Linders, G.J.M.

Abstract

Conventional studies of bilateral trade patterns specify a log-normal gravity equation for empirical estimation. However, the log-normal gravity equation suffers from three problems: the bias created by the logarithmic transformation, the failure of the homoscedasticity assumption, and the way zero values are treated. These problems normally result in biased and inefficient estimates. Recently, the Poisson specification of the trade gravity model has received attention as an alternative to the log-normality assumption (Santos Silva and Tenreyro, 2006). However, the standard Poisson model is vulnerable for problems of overdispersion and excess zero flows. To overcome these problems, this paper considers modified Poisson fixed-effects estimations (negative binomial, zero-inflated). Extending the empirical model put forward by Santos Silva and Tenreyro (2006), we show how these techniques may provide viable alternatives to both the log-normal and standard Poisson specification of the gravity model of trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2009-003-ORG.

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Date of creation: 30 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:14614

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Keywords: distance; gravity model; international trade; modified Poisson models;

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  1. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  2. Mullahy, John, 1986. "Specification and testing of some modified count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 341-365, December.
  3. Ghazalian, Pascal & Tamini, Lota & Larue, Bruno & Gervais, Jean-Philippe, 2007. "A Gravity approach to evaluate the significance of trade liberalization in vertically-related goods in the presence of non-tariff barriers," MPRA Paper 2744, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Gert-Jan M. Linders & Martijn J. Burger & Frank G. van Oort, 2008. "A rather empty world: the many faces of distance and the persistent resistance to international trade," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 1(3), pages 439-458.
  6. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, 2013. "The log of gravity revisited," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 311-327, January.
  7. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain & Trognon, Alain, 1984. "Pseudo Maximum Likelihood Methods: Applications to Poisson Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 701-20, May.
  8. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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