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Economic Integation Agreements, Border Effects, and Distance Elasticities in the Gravity Equation

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey H. Bergstrand
  • Mario Larch
  • Yoto V. Yotov

Abstract

Using a novel common econometric specification, we examine the measurement of three important effects in international trade that historically have been addressed largely separately: the (partial) effects on trade of economic integration agreements, national borders, and bilateral distance. First, recent studies focusing on precise and unbiased estimates of effects of economic integration agreements (EIAs) on members’ trade may be biased upward owing to inadequate control for exogenous unobservable country-pair-specific technological innovations (decreasing the costs of international relative to intranational trade); we find evidence of this bias using a properly specified gravity equation. Second, our novel methodology yields economically plausible and statistically significant estimates of the declining effect of “national borders” on world trade, now accounting for endogenous EIA formations and unobserved country-pair heterogeneity in initial levels. Third, we confirm recent evidence providing a solution to the “distance-elasticity puzzle,” but show that these estimates of the declining effect of distance on international trade are biased upward by not accounting for endogenous EIA formations and unobserved country-pair heterogeneity. We show that these results are robust to a battery of sensitivity analyses allowing for phase-ins of agreements, lagged terms-of-trade effects, reverse causality, various estimation techniques, disaggregation, inclusion of intranational trade, and accounting for firm-heterogeneity and country-selection bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey H. Bergstrand & Mario Larch & Yoto V. Yotov, 2013. "Economic Integation Agreements, Border Effects, and Distance Elasticities in the Gravity Equation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4502, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4502
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4502.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de Sousa, José & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2012. "Market access in global and regional trade," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1037-1052.
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    5. 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.
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    7. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2008. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 310-320, July.
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    9. Yotov, Yoto V., 2012. "A simple solution to the distance puzzle in international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 794-798.
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    11. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2014. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: European Economic Integration, WTO Membership, Immigration and Offshoring, chapter 4, pages 115-148, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Kern, Milena & Paetzold, Joerg & Winner, Hannes, 2018. "Cutting Red Tape for Trade in Services," Working Papers in Economics 2018-9, University of Salzburg.
    2. Kent Matthews, 2014. "Cost Inefficiency in the Pakistan Banking Sector 2002-2009," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 10, pages 1-20.
    3. Valeriano Martínez-San Román & Marta Bengoa & Blanca Sánchez-Robles, 2016. "Foreign direct investment, trade integration and the home bias: evidence from the European Union," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 197-229, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; economic integration agreements; gravity equations;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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