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The Log of Gravity

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  • Joao Santos Silva
  • Silvana Tenreyro

Abstract

Although economists have long been aware of Jensen's inequality, many econometric applications have neglected an important implication of it: the standard practice of interpreting the parameters of log-linearized models estimated by ordinary least squares as elasticities can be highly misleading in the presence of heteroskedasticity. This paper explains why this problem arises and proposes an appropriate estimator. Our criticism to conventional practices and the solution we propose extends to a broad range of economic applications where the equation under study is log-linearized. We develop the argument using one particular illustration, the gravity equation for trade, and apply the proposed technique to provide new estimates of this equation. We find significant differences between estimates obtained with the proposed estimator and those obtained with the traditional method. These discrepancies persist even when the gravity equation takes into account multilateral resistance terms or fixed effects

Suggested Citation

  • Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The Log of Gravity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0701, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0701
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elasticities; Gravity equation; Heteroskedasticity; Jensens inequality; Poisson regression; Preferential-trade agreements;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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