How confident can we be of CGE-based assessments of Free Trade Agreements?
With the proliferation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) over the past decade, demand for quantitative analysis of their likely impacts has surged. The main quantitative tool for performing such analysis is Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modeling. Yet these models have been widely criticized for performing poorly (Kehoe, 2002) and having weak econometric foundations (McKitrick, 1998; Jorgenson, 1984). FTA results have been shown to be particularly sensitive to the trade elasticities, with small trade elasticities generating large terms of trade effects and relatively modest efficiency gains, whereas large trade elasticities lead to the opposite result. Critics are understandably wary of results being determined largely by the authors’ choice of trade elasticities. Where do these trade elasticities come from? CGE modelers typically draw these elasticities from econometric work that uses time series price variation to identify an elasticity of substitution between domestic goods and composite imports (Alaouze, 1977; Alaouze, et al., 1977; Stern et al., 1976; Gallaway, McDaniel and Rivera, 2003). This approach has three problems: the use of point estimates as “truth”, the magnitude of the point estimates, and estimating the relevant elasticity. First, modelers take point estimates drawn from the econometric literature, while ignoring the precision of these estimates. As we will make clear below, the confidence one has in various CGE conclusions depends critically on the size of the confidence interval around parameter estimates. Standard “robustness checks” such as systematically raising or lowering the substitution parameters does not properly address this problem because it ignores information about which parameters we know with some precision and which we do not. A second problem with most existing studies derives from the use of import price series to identify home vs. foreign substitution, for example, tends to systematically understate the true elasticity. Th
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Levinsohn, James, 1993.
"Testing the imports-as-market-discipline hypothesis,"
Journal of International Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 1-22, August.
- James Levinsohn, 1991. "Testing the Imports-as-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 3657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Levinsohn, J., 1991. "Testing the Imports-As-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," Working Papers 272, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
- Touhami Abdelkhalek & Jean-Marie Dufour, 1998.
"Statistical Inference For Computable General Equilibrium Models, With Application To A Model Of The Moroccan Economy,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 520-534, November.
- ABDELKHALEK, Touhami & DUFOUR, Jean-Marie, 1997. "Statistical Inference for Computable General Equilibrium Models with Application to a Model of the Moroccan Economy," Cahiers de recherche 9713, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Liu, Jing & Channing Arndt & Thomas Hertel, 2003.
"Parameter Estimation and Measures of Fit in A Global, General Equilibrium Model,"
GTAP Working Papers
1200, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
- Liu, Jing & Arndt, Channing, 2004. "Parameter Estimation and Measures of Fit in A Global, General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 19, pages 626-649.
- Hummels, David, 1999. "Toward a Geography of Trade Costs," GTAP Working Papers 1162, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
- Gallaway, Michael P. & McDaniel, Christine A. & Rivera, Sandra A., 2003. "Short-run and long-run industry-level estimates of U.S. Armington elasticities," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, March.
- Malcolm, Gerard, 1998. "Adjusting Tax Rates in the GTAP Data Base," GTAP Technical Papers 315, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
- Wigle, Randall M, 1991. "The Pagan-Shannon Approximation: Unconditional Systematic Sensitivity in Minutes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 35-49.
- John Whalley, 1984. "Trade Liberalization among Major World Trading Areas," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262231204, June.
- McKitrick, Ross R., 1998. "The econometric critique of computable general equilibrium modeling: the role of functional forms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 543-573, October.
- W. Jill Harrison & K.R. Pearson, 1994.
"Computing Solutions for Large General Equilibrium Models Using GEMPACK,"
Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers
ip-64, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
- Harrison, W Jill & Pearson, K R, 1996. "Computing Solutions for Large General Equilibrium Models Using GEMPACK," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 83-127, May.
- McDougall, Robert, 2000.
"A New Regional Household Demand System for GTAP,"
GTAP Working Papers
404, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
- Harrison, Glenn W. & Jones, Richard & Kimbell, Larry J. & Wigle, Randal, 1993. "How robust is applied general equilibrium analysis?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 99-115, February.
- Diao, Xinshen, 2001. "A Dynamic Evaluation of the Effects of A Free Trade Area of the Americas -An Intertemporal, Global General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 16, pages 21-47.
- Baldwin, Richard E. & Venables, Anthony J., 1995. "Regional economic integration," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1597-1644 Elsevier.
- DeVuyst, Eric A. & Preckel, Paul V., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis revisited: A quadrature-based approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 175-185, April.
- Andrew B Bernard & J Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Exporting and Productivity: The Importance of Reallocation," Working Papers 01-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Giuseppe Iarossi & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Exports and Manufacturing Productivity in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis with Firm-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pagan, A R & Shannon, J H, 1987. "How Reliable Are ORAN I Conclusions?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 63(180), pages 33-45, March.
- Chris M. Alaouze, 1977. "Estimates of the elasticity of substitution between imported and domestically produced goods classified at the input-output level of aggregation," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers o-13, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
- Ianchovichina, Elena & Binkley, James & Hertel, Thomas, 2000. "Procompetitive Effects of Foreign Competition on Domestic Markups," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 134-48, February.
- Arndt, Channing, 1996. "An Introduction to Systematic Sensitivity Analysis via Gaussian Quadrature," GTAP Technical Papers 305, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
- Chris M. Alaouze & John S. Marsden & John Zeitsch, 1977. "Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution Between Imported and Domestically Produced Commodities at the Four Digit ASIC Level," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers o-11, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
- 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.
- Harrison, Glenn W & Vinod, H D, 1992. "The Sensitivity Analysis of Applied General Equilibrium Models: Completely Randomized Factorial Sampling Designs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 357-62, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:24:y:2007:i:4:p:611-635. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.