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International Trade Price Indices


  • Guillaume Gaulier
  • Julien Martin
  • Isabelle Méjean
  • Soledad Zignago


Export and import price indices are useful instruments in international economics. We document here TradePrices, our database of aggregated and sectoral trade price indices for all countries, computed using unit values given by BACI, the CEPII’s database of international trade at the product-level covering the period 1995-2004. Its rich country dimension allow an international comparison of prices evolutions. We compute “common” Laspeyres and Paasche indices but also “superlative” Fisher and Tornqvist indices, in both chained and fixed-base forms (chained Laspeyres and Paasche are also provided in their geometric form). In a first part, we discuss the characteristics of these different aggregation methods. In particular, we highlight the links between statistical methods and economical assumptions about implicit elasticity of substitution between goods. In a second step we describe the data. An exhaustive sensitivity analysis is done in order to determine the appropriate way to deal with technical difficulties, such as the treatment of measurement errors in bilateral unit values. Finally, this paper provides some stylized facts illustrating the necessity to provide a trade price database allowing international comparison and the usefulness of both aggregated and sectoral trade price indices to study international economics. TradeP rices database and SAS programs are freely available online, offering to users the possibility to choose the most accurate index for each particular purpose.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Gaulier & Julien Martin & Isabelle Méjean & Soledad Zignago, 2008. "International Trade Price Indices," Working Papers 2008-10, CEPII research center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2008-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    2. Allen, Robert C & Diewert, W Erwin, 1981. "Direct versus Implicit Superlative Index Number Formulae," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 430-435, August.
    3. Lionel Fontagné & Rodrigo Paillacar, 2007. "China is Shipping more Products to the United States than Germany," La Lettre du CEPII, CEPII research center, issue 270.
    4. Gaulier, Guillaume & Zignago, Soledad, 2004. "Notes on BACI (analytical database of international trade). 1989-2002 version," MPRA Paper 32401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Mick Silver, 2007. "Do Unit Value Export, Import, and Terms of Trade Indices Represent or Misrepresent Price Indices?," IMF Working Papers 07/121, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
    7. Nancy D. Ruggles, 1974. "The Role of the Computer in Economic and Social Research in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rugg74-1, January.
    8. Guillaume Gaulier & Isabelle Méjean, 2006. "Import Prices, Variety and the Extensive Margin of Trade," Working Papers 2006-17, CEPII research center.
    9. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    10. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1975. "International Trade Prices and Price Proxies," NBER Chapters,in: The Role of the Computer in Economic and Social Research in Latin America, pages 253-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Angela Cheptea & Lionel Fontagné & Soledad Zignago, 2014. "European export performance," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(1), pages 25-58, February.
    2. Amador, João & Cabral, Sónia, 2009. "Vertical specialization across the world: A relative measure," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 267-280, December.
    3. Aaron Garavito & David Camilo López & Enrique Montes, 2011. "Aproximación a los índices de valor unitario y quantum del comercio exterior colombiano," Borradores de Economia 680, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. Antoine Berthou & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "How do Multiproduct Exporters React to a Change in Trade Costs?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 326-353, April.
    5. Emine Boz & Gita Gopinath & Mikkel Plagborg-Møller, 2017. "Global Trade and the Dollar," NBER Working Papers 23988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Andreas Benedictow & Pål Boug, 2013. "Trade liberalisation and exchange rate pass-through: the case of textiles and wearing apparels," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 757-788, October.
    7. Stefan Schiman & Andreas Reinstaller, 2015. "Analyse der Terms-of-Trade Österreichs," FIW Research Reports series VI-004, FIW.
    8. Soledad Zignago, 2010. "Determinantes del comercio internacional en tiempos de crisis," Working Papers 1016, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    9. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00975562 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Aarón Garavito & David López & Enrique Montes, 2014. "Price and quantity indexes of the Colombian foreign trade," Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía, issue 80, pages 9-47, Enero-Jun.
    11. Emine Boz & Gita Gopinath & Mikkel Plagborg-Møller, 2017. "Global Trade and the Dollar," IMF Working Papers 17/239, International Monetary Fund.
    12. repec:cii:cepiei:2011-q4-128-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Susan Stone & Ricardo Cavazos Cepeda, 2011. "Wage Implications of Trade Liberalisation: Evidence for Effective Policy Formation," OECD Trade Policy Papers 122, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item


    International trade; Price indices;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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