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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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Related research

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

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  3. Keith Head & John Ries & Thierry Mayer, 2011. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  4. Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Trade and production, 1976-99," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2701, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2014, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
  9. POSCHKE, Markus, 2011. "The Firm Size Distribution across Countries and Skill-Biased Change in Entrepreneurial Technology," Cahiers de recherche 08-2011, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  10. Gilles Duranton & Michael Storper, 2008. "Rising trade costs? Agglomeration and trade with endogenous transaction costs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 292-319, February.
  11. Yotov, Yoto V., 2012. "A simple solution to the distance puzzle in international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 794-798.
  12. J.M.C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2008. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes:Implementing the Helpman-Melitz-Rubinstein Model Empirically," Economics Discussion Papers 662, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  13. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  14. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Jean-François BRUN & Céline CARRERE & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Jaime MELO DE, 2002. "Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model," Working Papers 200215, CERDI.
  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. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Bergstrand, Jeffrey & Larch, Mario & Yotov, Yoto, 2013. "Economic Integration Agreements, Border Effects, and Distance Elasticities in the Gravity Equation," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2013-7, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  2. Yotov, Yoto V., 2012. "A simple solution to the distance puzzle in international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 794-798.

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