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The Log of Gravity

Author

Listed:
  • J. M. C. Santos Silva

    (ISEG/Universidade Técnica de Lisboa and CEMAPRE)

  • Silvana Tenreyro

    (London School of Economics, CEP, and CEPR)

Abstract

Although economists have long been aware of Jensen's inequality, many econometric applications have neglected an important implication of it: under heteroskedasticity, the parameters of log-linearized models estimated by OLS lead to biased estimates of the true elasticities. We explain why this problem arises and propose an appropriate estimator. Our criticism of conventional practices and the proposed solution extend to a broad range of applications where log-linearized equations are estimated. We develop the argument using one particular illustration, the gravity equation for trade. We find significant differences between estimates obtained with the proposed estimator and those obtained with the traditional method. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:4:p:641-658
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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