IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions

  • Kee, Hiau Looi
  • Nicita, Alessandro
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo

To study the effects of tariffs on GDP one needs import demand elasticities at the tariff line level that are consistent with GDP maximization. These do not exist. We modify Kohli’s (1991) GDP function approach to estimate demand elasticities for 4625 imported goods in 117 countries. Following Anderson and Neary (1992, 1994) and Feenstra (1995), we use these estimates to construct theoretically-sound trade restrictiveness indices (TRIs) and GDP losses associated with existing tariff structures. Countries are revealed to be 30% more restrictive than their simple or import-weighted average tariffs would suggest. Thus, distortion is nontrivial. GDP losses are the largest in the United States, China, India, Mexico and Germany.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4669.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4669
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Robert Feenstra, 2004. "Estimating The Effects Of Trade Policy," Working Papers 9510, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Gallaway, Michael P. & McDaniel, Christine A. & Rivera, Sandra A., 2003. "Short-run and long-run industry-level estimates of U.S. Armington elasticities," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, March.
  3. David E. Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization And The Gains From Variety," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 327, Econometric Society.
  4. Anderson, James E. & Neary, J. Peter, 2007. "Welfare versus market access: The implications of tariff structure for tariff reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 187-205, March.
  5. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
  6. Bruce A. Blonigen & Wesley W. Wilson, 1999. "Explaining Armington: What Determines Substitutability Between Home and Foreign Goods?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-21, February.
  7. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1998. "The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Winters, L. Alan, 1984. "Separability and the specification of foreign trade functions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 239-263, November.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra, 1992. "How Costly Is Protectionism?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 159-178, Summer.
  10. Harrigan, James, 1997. "Technology, Factor Supplies, and International Specialization: Estimating the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 475-94, September.
  11. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  12. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  13. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 1993. "Measuring the restrictiveness of trade policy," Working Papers 199307, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  14. Riedel, James, 1988. "The Demand for LDC Exports of Manufactures: Estimates from Hong Kong," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 138-48, March.
  15. Marquez, Jaime, 1999. "Long-Period Trade Elasticities for Canada, Japan, and the United States," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 102-16, February.
  16. Kei-Mu Yi, 2000. "Can vertical specialization explain the growth of world trade?," Staff Reports 96, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  17. Athukorala, Premachandra & Riedel, James, 1994. "Demand and Supply Factors in the Determination of NIE Exports: A Simultaneous Error-Correction Model for Hong Kong: A Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1411-14, November.
  18. Panagariya, Arvind & Shah, Shekhar & Mishra, Deepak, 2001. "Demand elasticities in international trade: are they really low?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 313-342, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4669. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.