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Heterogeneous Firms, Globalization and the Distance Puzzle

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Author Info

  • Larch, Mario

    ()
    (University of Bayreuth)

  • Norbäck, Pehr-Johan

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Sirries, Steffen

    ()
    (University of Bayreuth)

  • Urban, Dieter

    (None)

Abstract

Despite the strong pace of globalization, the distance effect on trade is persistent or even growing over time (Disdier and Head, 2008). To solve this distance puzzle, we use the recently developed gravity equation estimator from Helpman, Melitz and Rubinstein (2008), HMR henceforth. Using three different data sets, we find that the distance coefficient increases over time when OLS is used, while the non-linear estimation of HMR leads to a decline in the distance coefficient over time. The distance puzzle thus arises from a growing bias of OLS estimates. The latter is explained by globalization more significantly reducing the downward bias from omitting zero trade flows than it reduces the upward bias from omitting the number of heterogeneous exporting firms. Furthermore, we show that including zero-trade flows cannot solve the distance puzzle when using HMR. The HMR estimates are strongly correlated with the time pattern in freight costs reported by Hummels (2007).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 957.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 05 Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0957

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Keywords: Distance puzzle; Gravity estimation; Zero trade flows; Firm heterogeneity;

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References

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  1. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
  2. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head & John Ries, 2008. "The Erosion of Colonial Trade Linkages after Independence," Working Papers 2008-27, CEPII research center.
  4. Gilles Duranton & Michael Storper, 2005. "Rising trade costs?: agglomeration and trade with endogenous transaction costs," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19898, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard Baldwin & James Harrigan, 2011. "Zeros, Quality, and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 60-88, May.
  8. Jean-François BRUN & Céline CARRERE & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Jaime MELO DE, 2002. "Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model," Working Papers 200215, CERDI.
  9. Yotov, Yoto V., 2012. "A simple solution to the distance puzzle in international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 794-798.
  10. Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Trade and production, 1976-99," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2701, The World Bank.
  11. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2006. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(4), pages 642-674, December.
  12. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
  13. Krautheim, Sebastian, 2012. "Heterogeneous firms, exporter networks and the effect of distance on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 27-35.
  14. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
  15. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2009. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes: Implementing the Helpman-Melitz-Rubinstein Model Empirically," CEP Discussion Papers dp0935, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Blum, Bernardo S. & Goldfarb, Avi, 2006. "Does the internet defy the law of gravity?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 384-405, December.
  17. Poschke, Markus, 2014. "The Firm Size Distribution across Countries and Skill-Biased Change in Entrepreneurial Technology," IZA Discussion Papers 7991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  19. Russell Hillberry & David Hummels, 2005. "Trade Responses to Geographic Frictions: A Decomposition Using Micro-Data," NBER Working Papers 11339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yotov, Yoto, 2012. "A Simple Solution to the Distance Puzzle in International Trade," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2012-6, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  2. Elisaveta Archanskaia & Guillaume Daudin, 2012. "Heterogeneity and the Distance Puzzle," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2012-17, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  3. Jeffrey H., Larch, Mario Bergstrand & Yoto V. Yotov, 2013. "Economic Integation Agreements, Border Effects, and Distance Elasticities in the Gravity Equation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4502, CESifo Group Munich.

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