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Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods


  • Feenstra, Robert
  • Markusen, James R.
  • Rose, Andrew K


This paper argues that the theoretical foundations for the gravity equation are general, while the empirical performance of the gravity equation is specific to the type of goods examined. Most existing theory for the gravity equation depends on the assumption of differentiated goods. We show that the gravity equation can also be derived from a 'reciprocal dumping' model of trade in homogeneous goods. The different theories have different testable implications. Theoretically, the gravity equation should have a lower domestic income elasticity for exports of homogeneous goods than of differentiated goods because of a 'home market' effect that depends on barriers to entry. We quantify the home market effect empirically using cross-sectional gravity equations and find that domestic income export elasticities are indeed substantially higher for differentiated goods than for homogeneous goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2035

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brander, James & Krugman, Paul, 1983. "A 'reciprocal dumping' model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 313-321, November.
    2. Simon J. Evenett & Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 281-316, April.
    3. Markusen, James R., 1981. "Trade and the gains from trade with imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 531-551, November.
    4. Davis, Donald R., 1995. "Intra-industry trade: A Heckscher-Ohlin-Ricardo approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 201-226, November.
    5. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1989. "The Generalized Gravity Equation, Monopolistic Competition, and the Factor-Proportions Theory in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 143-153, February.
    6. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "The Home Market, Trade, and Industrial Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1264-1276, December.
    7. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    8. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Market Access, Economic Geography, and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 6787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. David Hummels & James Levinsohn, 1995. "Monopolistic Competition and International Trade: Reconsidering the Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 799-836.
    10. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    11. Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Imperfect competition and international trade: Evidence from fourteen industrial countries," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 62-81, March.
    12. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
    13. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Venables, Anthony J., 1985. "Trade and trade policy with imperfect competition: The case of identical products and free entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-19, August.
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    More about this item


    Cournot-Nash; Empirical; homogeneous; reciprocal dumping; Simulation; theoretical;

    JEL classification:

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


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