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Import price elasticities: reconsidering the evidence

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  • Hélène Erkel‐Rousse
  • Daniel Mirza

Abstract

Recent economic geography and trade empirical studies based on monopolistic competition suggest high levels of trade price elasticities (between 3 and 11). However, price elasticity estimations in trade equations using unit values as price proxies usually lead to lower values of around unity. We show that those inconclusive results may be due to some misspecification in these equations as well as measurement errors in prices. When suitable instrumental variables are used, within a panel of industrialized countries, we obtain high price elasticities, the majority ranging from 1 to 13. The highest estimates correspond to industries producing homogeneous goods. JEL classification: C2, C3 and F1. Les élasticités prix des importations : un nouveau coup d’oeil aux résultats. Plusieurs études empiriques récentes fondées sur des modèles de concurrence monopolistique exhibent des élasticités prix estimées des échanges élevées (entre 3 et 11). Or, la plupart des élasticités prix estimées dans la littérature approchant les prix par des valeur unitaires sont plus faibles, de l’ordre de 1. Nous montrons que ces résultats non concluants pourraient provenir d’une mauvaise spécification des équations d’échanges ou d’erreurs de mesure sur les prix. Quand ceux‐ci sont correctement instrumentés, sur un panel de pays industrialisés, nous obtenons des élasticités prix élevées (de 1 à 13). Les plus fortes correspondent aux secteurs produisant des biens homogènes.

Suggested Citation

  • Hélène Erkel‐Rousse & Daniel Mirza, 2002. "Import price elasticities: reconsidering the evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 35(2), pages 282-306, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:35:y:2002:i:2:p:282-306
    DOI: 10.1111/1540-5982.00131
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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