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Gravity, Productivity and the Pattern of Production and Trade


  • James E. Anderson

    () (Boston College)


The aggregated incidence of bilateral trade costs is derived from the gravity model. Incidence is equivalent to a TFP penalty. Sectoral and national differences in TFP have sharp implications for the equilibrium pattern of production and trade in a specific factors model of production. Unskilled labor is intersectorally mobile. Skilled labor acquires sector specific skills. Productivity shocks cause incidence shock that induce ex post inefficient allocation of skilled labor. Below (above) average TFP sectors produce less and have below (above) average skill premia. Ex ante efficient allocation is lower in sectors with riskier TFP incidence, despite risk neutrality.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Anderson, 2008. "Gravity, Productivity and the Pattern of Production and Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 700, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:700

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James E. Anderson, 2008. "Globalization and Income Distribution: A Specific Factors Continuum Approach," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 699, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    3. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1979. "A Theory of International Trade Under Uncertainty," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780123396501 edited by Shell, Karl.
    4. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2010. "The Changing Incidence of Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2157-2186, December.
    5. 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.
    6. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
    7. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    8. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, James E. & Yotov, Yoto V., 2016. "Terms of trade and global efficiency effects of free trade agreements, 1990–2002," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 279-298.
    2. Larch Mario & Lechthaler Wolfgang, 2011. "Comparative Advantage and Skill-Specific Unemployment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-58, April.
    3. Peter Egger & Mario Larch & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2011. "The Trade Effects of Endogenous Preferential Trade Agreements," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 113-143, August.
    4. James E. Anderson, 2008. "Globalization and Income Distribution: A Specific Factors Continuum Approach," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 699, Boston College Department of Economics.
    5. Maria Cipollina & David Laborde Debucquet & Luca Salvatici, 2017. "The tide that does not raise all boats: an assessment of EU preferential trade policies," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(1), pages 199-231, February.
    6. Peter H. Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2013. "The Pure Effects of European Integration on Intra-EU Core and Periphery Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(6), pages 701-712, June.
    7. Prehn, Sören & Brümmer, Bernhard & Thompson, Stanley R., 2010. "Payment decoupling and the intra-European calf trade," DARE Discussion Papers 1008, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    8. Felix Chan & Mark N. Harris & William Greene & László Kónya, 2014. "Gravity Models of Trade: Unobserved Heterogeneity and Endogeneity," Working Papers 14-08, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    gravity model; trade costs; total factor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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