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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.

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Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2008-10.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2008-10
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  1. Guillaume Gaulier & Soledad Zignago, 2010. "BACI: International Trade Database at the Product-Level. The 1994-2007 Version," Working Papers 2010-23, CEPII research center.
  2. Irving Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1974. "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.
  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. Guillaume Gaulier & Isabelle Méjean, 2006. "Import Prices, Variety and the Extensive Margin of Trade," Working Papers 2006-17, CEPII research center.
  5. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  6. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 430-35, August.
  9. 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.
  10. 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, April.
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