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Gravity chains: estimating bilateral trade flows when parts and components trade is important

  • Baldwin, Richard
  • Taglioni, Daria

Trade is measured on a gross sales basis while GDP is measured on a net sales basis, i.e. value added. The rapid internationalisation of production in the last two decades has meant that gross trade flows are increasingly unrepresentative of value added flows. This fact has important implications for the estimation of the gravity equation. We present empirical evidence that the standard gravity equation performs poorly by some measures when it is applied to bilateral flows where parts and components trade is important. We also provide a simple theoretical foundation for a modified gravity equation that is suited to explaining trade where international supply chains are important. JEL Classification: F01, F10

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1401.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111401
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  2. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Nobuaki Yamashita, 2005. "Production Fragmentation and Trade Integration: East Asia in a Global Context," Departmental Working Papers 2005-07, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
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  12. Egger, Hartmut & Egger, Peter, 2007. "Outsourcing and trade in a spatial world," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 441-470, November.
  13. Dr. Mitsuyo ANDO & Dr. Fukunari Kimura, 2009. "Fragmentation in East Asia: Further Evidence," Working Papers DP-2009-20, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
  14. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2004. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3293, The World Bank.
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  17. Harrigan, James, 1996. "Openness to trade in manufactures in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 23-39, February.
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