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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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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 508.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 10 Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Brookings Trade Policy Forum 2001, Dani Rodrik and Susan Collins, eds., 2002
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:508
Contact details of provider: Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Phone: 617-552-3670
Fax: +1-617-552-2308
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  1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  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. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1998. "Relative Price Volatility: What Role Does the Border Play?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0061, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  5. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  6. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-25, December.
  7. 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.
  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.
  9. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "The Regionalization of the World Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran98-1, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Hess,Gregory D. & Wincoop,Eric van (ed.), 2000. "Intranational Macroeconomics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521661638.
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