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Trade Costs, Trade Balances and Current Accounts: An Application of Gravity to Multilateral Trade

  • Fazio, Giorgio
  • MacDonald, Ronald
  • Melitz, Jacques

In this paper we test the well-known hypothesis of Obstfeld and Rogoff (2000) that trade costs are the key to explaining the so-called Feldstein-Horioka puzzle. Using a gravity framework in an intertemporal context, we provide strong support for the hypothesis and we reconcile our results with the so-called home bias puzzle. Interestingly, this requires fundamental revision of Obstfeld and Rogoff’s argument. A further novelty of our work is in tying bilateral trade behaviour to desired aggregate trade balances and desired intertemporal trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5137.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5137
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Long-Term Capital Movements," CEG Working Papers 20018, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    • Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2002. "Long-Term Capital Movements," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 73-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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 143-53, February.
  4. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2007. "A Model of Endogenous Nontradability and its Implications for the Current Account," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 916-931, November.
  5. Kraay, Aart & Ventura, Jaume, 2002. "Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 3440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Aart Kraay & Norman Loayza & Luis Serven & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Country Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 7795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tamim Bayoumi, 1999. "Estimating Trade Equations from Aggregate Bilateral Data," IMF Working Papers 99/74, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Capital mobility in the world economy: Theory and measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 55-103, January.
  10. Rose, Andrew K, 1999. "One Money, One Market: Estimating the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:4:p:1137-1166 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  13. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
  14. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  15. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2002. "External wealth, the trade balance, and the real exchange rate," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 1049-1071, June.
  16. Melitz, Jacques, 2008. "Language and foreign trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 667-699, May.
  17. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
  18. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  19. Gordon, R.H. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1994. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? : Possible explanations and implications for capital income taxation," Discussion Paper 1994-63, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  20. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-81, August.
  21. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  22. Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "A Century of Current Account Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 8927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  24. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Endogenous Tradability andMacroeconomic Implications," Working Papers 513, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  25. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. Paul R. Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Endogenous nontradability and macroeconomic implications," Working Paper Series 2003-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  28. Bovenberg, A.L. & Gordon, R.H., 1996. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? Possible explanation and implications for capital income taxation," Other publications TiSEM 6a131c21-fd9a-4d83-8d9a-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  29. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  30. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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