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Borders, Trade and Welfare


  • James E. Anderson

    () (Boston College)

  • Eric van Wincoop

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)


International economic integration yields large potential welfare effects, even in a static constant returns competitive world economy. Our method is novel. The effect of border barriers on trade flows is often inferred from gravity models. But their rather atheoretic structure precludes welfare analysis. Computable general equilibrium models are designed for tight welfare analysis, but lack econometric foundation. Our method combines these approaches. Gravity models based on Anderson's (1979) interpretation are full general equilibrium models of a special simple sort. In Anderson and van Wincoop (NBER WP 8079, 2001) we develop and estimate this structure, then calculate the comparative static effects on trade flows of border barriers. In this paper we further deploy the model to explore the comparative statics of welfare with respect to borders, to currency unions and to NAFTA. Our NAFTA exercise does a much better job of replicating the actual trade flow changes than do computable general equilibrium models. An interesting implication is that terms of trade changes are very important, even for small' countries such as Mexico.
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  • James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Borders, Trade and Welfare," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 508, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:508

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "The Regionalization of the World Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran98-1, January.
    3. Carsten Kowalczyk & Donald R. Davis, 1998. "Tariff Phase-Outs: Theory and Evidence from GATT and NAFTA," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 227-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-1125, December.
    5. Rose, Andrew K, 1999. "One Money, One Market: Estimating the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1998. "Relative price volatility: what role does the border play?," International Finance Discussion Papers 623, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Hess,Gregory D. & Wincoop,Eric van (ed.), 2000. "Intranational Macroeconomics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521661638, March.
    8. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott, 1992. "North American Free Trade: Issues and Recommendations," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 71, January.
    9. 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.
    10. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
    11. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
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    More about this item


    gravity; NAFTA; simulation models;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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