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Estimating the gravity equation with the actual number of exporting firms

  • Asier Minondo

    (Deusto Business School)

  • Francisco Requena-Silvente

    (Universidad de Valencia)

To estimate correctly the effect of variable trade costs on firms' exports, the gravity equation should control for the number of firms that participate in foreign markets. Due to the absence of these data, previous studies control for this omitted variable using econometric strategies that may also lead to inconsistent estimations. To overcome this problem the present paper estimates a gravity equation using a new database compiled by the OECD and Eurostat that reports the number of exporting firms by reporter and partner country. We show that no controlling for the extensive margin of trade introduces very serious biases in the estimated trade cost coefficients. Moreover, these biases are much larger than predicted by previous studies.

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Paper provided by Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia in its series Working Papers with number 1121.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eec:wpaper:1121
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  1. Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The log of gravity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3744, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Lawless, Martina, 2008. "Deconstructing Gravity: Trade Costs and Extensive and Intensive Margins," MPRA Paper 10230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2009. "The Olympic Effect," NBER Working Papers 14854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  7. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2008. "Structural Gravity Equations with Intensive and Extensive Margins," Working Papers 2008-30, CEPII research center.
  8. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2010. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-14, May.
  9. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  10. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2009. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes: Implementing the Helpman-Melitz-Rubinstein Model Empirically," CEP Discussion Papers dp0935, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Thierry Mayer, . "The happy few: the internationalisation of European firms," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 12, June.
  12. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," NBER Working Papers 10344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 13054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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