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Does Ease of Communication Increase Trade? Commonality of Language and Bilateral Trade

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  • William K. Hutchinson

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    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

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    Abstract

    Gravity model explanations of trade volumes frequently include dummy variables to account for the commonality of language among trading partners. In this paper we use a data set for the number of people in a country who speak English as a first language or English as a second language (Crystal, 1997) as an indicator of the ease with which trade with the United States occurs. Controlling for commodity fixed effects we use SITC three digit industry data centered on 1995 United States bilateral trade with 33 countries to determine the effect of the degree of language commonality on bilateral trade. Both English as a first language and English as a second language are found to be more important for exports than for imports. This is true for all three digit industries as well as when the specific industry groups identified in Rauch (1999) are considere

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu02-w17.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0217.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0217

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    Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

    Related research

    Keywords: Trade; gravity; language;

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    1. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
    2. Wagner, Don & Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Immigration and the Trade of Provinces," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 507-25, December.
    3. Keith Head & John Ries, 1998. "Immigration and Trade Creation: Econometric Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 47-62, February.
    4. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
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    7. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    8. Boisso, Dale & Ferrantino, Michael, 1997. "Economic Distance, Cultural Distance, and Openness in International Trade : Empirical Puzzles," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 12, pages 456-484.
    9. Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    11. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-81, August.
    12. Dunlevy, James A. & Hutchinson, William K., 1999. "The Impact of Immigration on American Import Trade in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 1043-1062, December.
    13. Michael R. Pakko & Howard J. Wall, 2001. "Reconsidering the trade-creating effects of a currency union," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 37-46.
    14. Laszlo Matyas, 1997. "Proper Econometric Specification of the Gravity Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 363-368, 05.
    15. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1990. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model, the Linder Hypothesis and the Determinants of Bilateral Intra-industry Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1216-29, December.
    16. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1996. "Regional Trading Arrangements," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt5hf1z4rv, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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