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Modeling and Estimation of Gravity Equation in the Presence of Zero Trade: A Validation of Hypotheses Using Africa's Trade Data

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  • Kareem, Fatima O.

Abstract

Gravity model of trade has emerged as an important and popular model in explaining and predicting bilateral trade flows. While the theoretical justification is no longer in doubt, nonetheless, its empirical application has however generated several unresolved controversies in the literature. These specifically concerns estimation challenges which revolve around the validity of the log linear transformation of the gravity equation in the presence of heteroscedasticity and zero trade observations. These two issues generate several challenges concerning the appropriate choice of the estimation techniques. This paper evaluates the performance of alternative estimation techniques in the presence of zero trade observations, checks for the validation of their assumptions and their behaviour in cases of departure from their assumptions, particularly the departure from the heteroscedasticity assumption. Analysis was based on a dataset of Africa's fish exports to the European Union, which contains about 70% zero observations. Given our dataset and the gravity equation specified, our results show that there is no one general best performing model, although most of the linear estimators outperform the GLM estimators in many of the robust checks performed. In essence, we find that choosing the best model depends on the dataset, and a lot of robust tests and advocate an encompassing toolkit approach of the methods so as to establish robustness. We concur with Head and Mayer (2013) that the gravity equation is indeed just a toolkit and cookbook in the estimation of bilateral trade flows.

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  • Kareem, Fatima O., 2014. "Modeling and Estimation of Gravity Equation in the Presence of Zero Trade: A Validation of Hypotheses Using Africa's Trade Data," 140th Seminar, December 13-15, 2013, Perugia, Italy 163341, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa140:163341
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/163341
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    4. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, 2013. "The log of gravity revisited," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 311-327, January.
    5. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    6. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-481, August.
    7. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2015. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes: Implementing the Helpman–Melitz–Rubinstein Model Empirically," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 77(1), pages 93-105, February.
    8. Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "One money, one market: the effect of common currencies on trade," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 7-46, April.
    10. Andrew K. Rose & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "National Money as a Barrier to International Trade: The Real Case for Currency Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 386-390, May.
    11. 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.
    12. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Larch & Joschka Wanner & Yoto V. Yotov & Thomas Zylkin, 2017. "The Currency Union Effect: A PPML Re-assessment with High-Dimensional Fixed Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 6464, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Lei, Lei & Zhou, Li, 2017. "Avian influenza, nontariff measures, and the poultry exports in the global value chain," IDE Discussion Papers 640, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gravity Equation; Heteroscedasticity; Zero trade flows; Estimation techniques; Agribusiness; C13 C33 F10 F13;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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