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The log of gravity revisited

  • Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso

This article evaluates the performance of alternative estimation methods for gravity models with heteroscedasticity and zero trade values. Both problematic issues, recently addressed by Santos Silva and Tenreyro in an influential paper, are re-examined here. We use Monte Carlo simulations to compare the Pseudo Poisson Maximum Likelihood (PPML) estimator recommended by Santos Silva and Tenreyro, a Gamma Pseudo-Maximum-Likelihood (GPML), a Nonlinear Least Squares (NLS) estimator and a Feasible Generalized Least Squares (FGLS) estimator with more traditional techniques. Additionally, estimates of the gravity equation are obtained for three different data sets with the abovementioned methods. The results of the simulation study indicate that, although the PPML estimator is less affected by heteroscedasticity than others are, its performance is similar, in terms of bias and SEs, to the FGLS estimator performance, in particular for small samples. GPML presents however the lowest bias and SEs in the simulations without zero values. The results of the empirical estimations, using three different samples containing real data, indicate that the choice of estimator has to be made for each specific dataset. It is highly recommended to follow a model selection approach using a number of tests to select the more appropriate estimator for any application.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00036846.2011.599786
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 45 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 311-327

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:45:y:2013:i:3:p:311-327
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  1. Manning, Willard G., 1998. "The logged dependent variable, heteroscedasticity, and the retransformation problem," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 283-295, June.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. Santos Silva, J.M.C. & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2011. "Further simulation evidence on the performance of the Poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood estimator," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 220-222, August.
  4. Willard G. Manning & John Mullahy, 1999. "Estimating Log Models: To Transform or Not to Transform?," NBER Technical Working Papers 0246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Delgado, Miguel A., 1992. "Computing nonparametric functional estimates in semiparametric problems," UC3M Working papers. Economics 5821, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  6. Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada & Felicitas, Nowak-Lehmann D. & Horsewood, Nicholas, 2009. "Are regional trading agreements beneficial?: Static and dynamic panel gravity models," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 46-65, March.
  7. Sanso, Marcos & Cuairan, Rogelio & Sanz, Fernando, 1993. "Bilateral Trade Flows, the Gravity Equation, and Functional Form," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 266-75, May.
  8. Robinson, P M, 1987. "Asymptotically Efficient Estimation in the Presence of Heteroskedasticity of Unknown Form," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 875-91, July.
  9. Santos Silva, J.M.C & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2005. "The Log of Gravity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Scott L. Baier & Jeffrey H. Bergstrand, 2005. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members’ international trade?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2005-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  11. 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.
  12. Inmaculada Martinez-Zarzoso & Eva Maria Perez-Garcia & Celestino Suarez-Burguet, 2008. "Do transport costs have a differential effect on trade at the sectoral level?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(24), pages 3145-3157.
  13. Soloaga, Isidro & Alan Wintersb, L., 2001. "Regionalism in the nineties: what effect on trade?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-29, March.
  14. Márquez-Ramos Laura & Martínez-Zarzoso Inmaculada & Suárez-Burguet Celestino, 2007. "The Role of Distance in Gravity Regressions: Is There Really a Missing Globalisation Puzzle?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, January.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
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