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The Incidence of Gravity


  • James E. Anderson

    () (Boston College)


The high trade costs inferred from gravity are rarely used in the wide class of trade models. Two related problems explain this omission of a key explanatory variable. First, national seller and buyer responses to trade costs depend on their incidence rather than on the full cost. Second, the high dimensionality of bilateral trade costs requires aggregation for most practical uses in interpretation or standard trade modeling. This paper provides an intuitive description of a resolution to the aggregation and incidence problems. For each product, it is as if each province or country sells to a world market containing all buyers and buys from from that market containing all sellers, the incidence of aggregated bilateral trade costs being divided between sellers and buyers according to their location. Measures of incidence described here give intuitive insight into the consequences of geography, illustrated with results from Anderson and Yotov (2008). The integration of the incidence measures with standard general equilibrium structure opens the way to richer applied general equilibrium models and better empirical work on the origins of comparative advantage.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Anderson, 2010. "The Incidence of Gravity," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 732, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:732

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Halbert White & Karim Chalak, 2008. "Identifying Structural Effects in Nonseparable Systems Using Covariates," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 734, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Halbert White & Xun Lu, 2010. "Granger Causality and Dynamic Structural Systems," Journal of Financial Econometrics, Society for Financial Econometrics, vol. 8(2), pages 193-243, spring.
    3. Guido W. Imbens & Whitney K. Newey, 2009. "Identification and Estimation of Triangular Simultaneous Equations Models Without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1481-1512, September.
    4. Jinyong Hahn, 2004. "Functional Restriction and Efficiency in Causal Inference," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 73-76, February.
    5. Hoderlein, Stefan, 2011. "How many consumers are rational?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(2), pages 294-309, October.
    6. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    7. Stefan Hoderlein & Enno Mammen, 2007. "Identification of Marginal Effects in Nonseparable Models Without Monotonicity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1513-1518, September.
    8. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    9. Joseph G. Altonji & Rosa L. Matzkin, 2005. "Cross Section and Panel Data Estimators for Nonseparable Models with Endogenous Regressors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1053-1102, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Egger, Peter & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 2011. "Structural Estimation of Gravity Models with Path-dependent Market Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 8458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. J.A. Bikker, 2009. "An extended gravity model with substitution applied to international trade," Working Papers 09-17, Utrecht School of Economics.
    3. 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).

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    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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