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Estimating the gravity equation with the actual number of exporting firms


  • Asier Minondo
  • Francisco Requena



To estimate correctly the effect of variable trade costs on firms’ exports, the gravity equation should control for the number of firms that participate in foreign markets. Due to the absence of these data, previous studies control for this omitted variable using econometric strategies that may also lead to inconsistent estimates. To overcome this problem the present paper estimates a gravity equation using a new database compiled by the OECD and Eurostat stat that reports the number of exporting firms by reporter and partner country. We show that not controlling for the extensive margin of trade introduces very serious biases in the estimated trade cost coefficients.

Suggested Citation

  • Asier Minondo & Francisco Requena, 2013. "Estimating the gravity equation with the actual number of exporting firms," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 40(1 Year 20), pages 5-19, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:udc:esteco:v:40:y:2013:i:1:p:5-19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2011. "The Olympic Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 652-677, June.
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    4. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
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    7. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
    8. Martina Lawless, 2010. "Deconstructing gravity: trade costs and extensive and intensive margins," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1149-1172, November.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-1721, September.
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    More about this item


    Gravity equation; exporting firms; distance; trade costs; OECD.;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration


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