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Optimism bias? The elasticity puzzle in international economics revisited

  • Corbo, Vesna
  • Osbat, Chiara

The elasticity of substitution between domestic and imported goods is a central parameter in macroeconomic models, but after decades of empirical studies there is no consensus on its magnitude. Earlier literature using time series arrives at low values, while more recent studies using panel-based econometric methods on disaggregated data find higher values. We examine the econometric methodology of this more recent literature, which follows the seminal work by Feenstra (1994), looking in more detail at the effect on the results of the non-linear mapping between reduced-form and structural parameters. Our main contribution is the use of bootstrap methods, which offer more insight into the Feenstra method and can explain why researchers applying it may tend to find high estimates. The bootstrap not only allows us to obtain considerably less biased estimates of the structural elasticity parameter, but also to better characterize their accuracy, a point vastly overlooked by the literature. JEL Classification: C14, C23, F14

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1482.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121482
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  1. Russell Davidson & Emmanuel Flachaire, 2001. "The Wild Bootstrap, Tamed at Last," Working Papers 1000, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Jean Imbs & Isabelle Mejean, 2008. "Elasticity Optimism," EIEF Working Papers Series 0805, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2008.
  3. Giuseppe Cavaliere & Anders Rahbek & A. M. Robert Taylor, 2008. "Testing for Co-integration in Vector Autoregressions with Non-Stationary Volatility," Discussion Papers 08-34, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Helene Erkel-Rousse & Daniel Mirza, 2000. "Import Price-Elastcities: Reconsidering the Evidence," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0909, Econometric Society.
  5. Flachaire, Emmanuel, 2005. "Bootstrapping heteroskedastic regression models: wild bootstrap vs. pairs bootstrap," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 361-376, April.
  6. Giuseppe Cavaliere & Anders Rahbek & A.M.Robert Taylor, 2009. "Co-integration Rank Testing under Conditional Heteroskedasticity," CREATES Research Papers 2009-22, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  7. Feenstra & R.C., 1990. "New Goods and Index Members: U.S. Import Prices," Papers 371, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  8. Murray C. Kemp, 1962. "Errors Of Measurement And Bias In Estimates Of Import Demand Parameters1," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 38(83), pages 369-372, 09.
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