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

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-12/cesifo1_wp4502.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4502.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4502
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  1. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  2. Fontagne, Lionel & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2004. "Trade in the Triad: How Easy is the Access to Large Markets?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4442, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. I-Hui Cheng & Howard J. Wall, 2005. "Controlling for heterogeneity in gravity models of trade and integration," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 49-63.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  6. Yotov, Yoto, 2012. "A Simple Solution to the Distance Puzzle in International Trade," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2012-6, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  7. Cipollina, Maria & Salvatici, Luca, 2007. "Reciprocal trade agreements in gravity models: a meta-analysis," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp07035, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  8. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  9. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. 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.
  11. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2010. "The Changing Incidence of Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2157-86, December.
  12. Mayer, Thierry & Paillacar, Rodrigo & Zignago, Soledad, 2008. "TradeProd. The CEPII Trade, Production and Bilateral Protection Database: Explanatory Notes," MPRA Paper 26477, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. 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.
  14. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2006. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(4), pages 642-674, December.
  15. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
  17. Anderson, James & Yotov, Yoto, 2012. "Terms of Trade and Global Efficiency Effects of Free Trade Agreements, 1990-2002," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2012-3, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  18. Peter Egger & Mario Larch & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2010. "The Trade Effects of Endogenous Preferential Trade Agreements," CESifo Working Paper Series 3253, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  20. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  21. repec:lmu:muenar:20646 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Larch, Mario & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Sirries, Steffen & Urban, Dieter, 2013. "Heterogeneous Firms, Globalization and the Distance Puzzle," Working Paper Series 957, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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