IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

Trade Elasticity Parameters for a Computable General Equilibrium Model

  • Hillberry, Russell
  • Hummels, David

Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models of international trade typically rely on econometrically estimated trade elasticities as model inputs. These elasticities vary by as much as an order of magnitude and there is no consensus on which elasticities to use. We review the literature estimating trade elasticities, focusing on several key considerations. What are the identifying assumptions used to separate supply and demand parameters? What is the nature of the shock to prices employed in the econometrics? And what is the time horizon over which trade responds to this shock? This discussion ranges from older reduced form approaches that use time-series variation in prices, to more recent work that identifies demand elasticities from trade costs or by using instruments in cross-section or panel data, and finally to prominent applications that separately identify supply and demand parameters in the absence of instruments. We also discuss recent theoretical developments from the literature on heterogeneous firms that complicate the interpretation of all these parameter estimates. Finally, we briefly survey a literature on structural estimation and link this to recent attempts to incorporate such theories in CGE applications. By elucidating the differences and similarities in these approaches we hope to guide the CGE practitioner in choosing elasticity estimates. We favor elasticities taken from econometric exercises that employ identifying assumptions and exploit shocks that are similar in nature to those imposed in the model experiment.

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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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.

in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.), 2012. "Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 05.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling with number v:1:y:2013:i:c:p:1213-1269.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:hacchp:v:1:y:2013:i:c:p:1213-1269
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    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.:

    as in new window
    1. Amit Khandelwal, 2007. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," 2007 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Cherkashin, Ivan & Demidova, Svetlana & Kee, Hiau Looi & Krishna, Kala, 2015. "Firm heterogeneity and costly trade: a new estimation strategy and policy experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7156, The World Bank.
    3. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," NBER Working Papers 14610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ina Simonovska & Michael Waugh, 2011. "The Elasticity of Trade: Estimates and Evidence," Working Papers 112, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    6. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
    7. Hiau Looi Kee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2008. "Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 666-682, November.
    8. Robert C. Feenstra, 2009. "Measuring the Gains from Trade under Monopolistic Competition," NBER Working Papers 15593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the gains from variety," Staff Reports 180, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Baldwin, Richard & Venables, Anthony J, 2010. "Spiders and Snakes: Offshoring and Agglomeration in the Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8163, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2006. "How Important is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," 2006 Meeting Papers 733, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1998. "An economic theory of GATT," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    13. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
    15. David S. Jacks & Christopher M. Meissner & Dennis Novy, 2009. "Trade Booms, Trade Busts, and Trade Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 2767, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2011. "Structural estimation and solution of international trade models with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 95-108, March.
    17. Hummels, David & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr & Skiba, Alexandre, 2009. "The trade reducing effects of market power in international shipping," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 84-97, May.
    18. Erkel-Rousse, H. & Mirza, D., 2000. "Import Price-Elasticities : Reconsidering the Evidence," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 2000.52, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    19. Kei-Mu Yi, 2008. "Can multi-stage production explain the home bias in trade?," Working Papers 08-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    20. Choi, Yo Chul & Hummels, David & Xiang, Chong, 2009. "Explaining import quality: The role of the income distribution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 293-303, July.
    21. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-60, February.
    22. Chen, Natalie & Novy, Dennis, 2011. "Gravity, trade integration, and heterogeneity across industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 206-221.
    23. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:2:p:646-677 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Ernesto Valenzuela & Kym Anderson & Thomas Hertel, 2008. "Impacts of trade reform: sensitivity of model results to key assumptions," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 395-420, February.
    25. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
    26. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    27. Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2012. "Trade and Investment under Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Firm Evidence," NBER Working Papers 17790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    29. W.E. Diewert, 1986. "Export Supply and Import Demand Functions: A Production Theory Approach," NBER Working Papers 2011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Hertel, Thomas & David Hummels & Maros Ivanic & Roman Keeney, 2003. "How Confident Can We Be in CGE-Based Assessments of Free Trade Agreements?," GTAP Working Papers 1324, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    31. Brown, Drusilla K., 1987. "Tariffs, the terms of trade, and national product differentiation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 503-526.
    32. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 1996. "Integration, specialization, and adjustment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 959-967, April.
    33. John Romalis, 2007. "NAFTA's and CUSFTA's Impact on International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 416-435, August.
    34. de Melo, Jaime & Robinson, Sherman, 1989. "Product differentiation and the treatment of foreign trade in computable general equilibrium models of small economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 47-67, August.
    35. Reinert, Kenneth A. & Roland-Holst, David W., 1992. "Armington elasticities for United States manufacturing sectors," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 631-639, October.
    36. 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.
    37. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
    38. Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2006. "Product differentiation and duration of US import trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 339-358, December.
    39. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
    40. Edward J. Balistreri & Russell H. Hillberry, 2008. "The Gravity Model: An Illustration Of Structural Estimation As Calibration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 511-527, October.
    41. 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.
    42. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    43. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
    44. Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "The International Elasticity Puzzle," Working Papers 08-30, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    45. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    46. 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.
    47. Haynes, Stephen E & Stone, Joe A, 1983. "Specification of Supply Behavior in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 626-32, November.
    48. Leamer, Edward E, 1981. "Is It a Demand Curve, or Is It a Supply Curve? Partial Identification through Inequality Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 319-27, August.
    49. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    50. David L. Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2008. "International pricing in a generalized model of ideal variety," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    51. Rutherford, Thomas F. & Rutstrom, E.E. & Tarr, David, 1993. "Morocco's free trade agreement with the European community : a quantitative assessment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1173, The World Bank.
    52. Wigle, Randall M, 1991. "The Pagan-Shannon Approximation: Unconditional Systematic Sensitivity in Minutes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 35-49.
    53. 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.
    54. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
    55. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    56. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    57. 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.
    58. Kohli, Ulrich, 1993. "A Symmetric Normalized Quadratic GNP Function and the U.S. Demand for Imports and Supply of Exports," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 243-55, February.
    59. Robert C. Feenstra & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Globalization, Markups and U.S. Welfare," NBER Working Papers 15749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    60. Ulrich R. Kohli, 1978. "A Gross National Product Function and the Derived Demand for Imports and Supply of Exports," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 11(2), pages 167-82, May.
    61. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H., 2007. "Structural estimation and the border puzzle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 451-463, July.
    62. 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.
    63. Tibor Besedes & Thomas Prusa, 2006. "Ins, outs, and the duration of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 266-295, February.
    64. Handley, Kyle, 2012. "Exporting under Trade Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 634, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    65. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:2:p:441-487 is not listed on IDEAS
    66. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    67. David Hummels & Alexandre Skiba, 2002. "Shipping the Good Apples Out? An Empirical Confirmation of the Alchian-Allen Conjecture," NBER Working Papers 9023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    68. Fair, Ray C, 1970. "The Estimation of Simultaneous Equation Models with Lagged Endogenous Variables and First Order Serially Correlated Errors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 507-16, May.
    69. Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1151 - 1199.
    70. John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1972. "A General Equilibrium Calculation of the Effects of Differential Taxation of Income from Capital in the U.S," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 328, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    71. Soderbery, Anson, 2010. "Investigating the asymptotic properties of import elasticity estimates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 57-62, November.
    72. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hacchp:v:1:y:2013:i:c:p:1213-1269. 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.