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Estimating Gravity Models of International Trade with Correlated Time-Fixed Regressors: To IV or not IV?

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  • Timo Mitze

Abstract

Gravity type models are widely used in international economics. In these models the inclusion of time-fi0xed regressors like geographical or cultural distance, language and institutional (dummy) variables is often of vital importance e.g. to analyse the impact of trade costs on internationalization activity. This paper assesses the problem of parameter inconsistency due to a correlation of the time-fixed regressors with the combined error term in panel data settings. A common solution is to use Instrumental-Variable (IV) estimation in the spirit of Hausman-Taylor (1981) since a standard Fixed Effect Model (FEM) estimation is not applicable. However, some potential shortcomings of the latter approach recently gave rise to the use of non-IV two-step estimators. Given their growing number of empirical applications, we aim to compare the performance of IV and non-IV approaches in the presence of time-fixed variables and right hand side endogeneity using Monte Carlo simulations, where we explicitly control for the problem of IV selection in the Hausman-Taylor case. The simulation results show that the Hausman-Taylor model with perfect-knowledge about the underlying data structure (instrument orthogonality) has on average the smallest bias. However, compared to the empirically relevant specification with imperfect-knowledge and instruments chosen by statistical criteria, simple non-IV rival estimators performs equally well or even better. We illustrate these findings by estimating gravity type models for German regional export activity within the EU. The results show that the HT specification is likely to overestimate the role of trade costs proxied by geographical distance.

Suggested Citation

  • Timo Mitze, 2010. "Estimating Gravity Models of International Trade with Correlated Time-Fixed Regressors: To IV or not IV?," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2010_22, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  • Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2010_22
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    Cited by:

    1. Victor Rivas, 2012. "Structural Estimation of Variety Gains from Trade Integration in a Heterogeneous Firms Framework," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 55(2), pages 78-93.
    2. Thi Hanh Vu, 2013. "International Export Flows of Vietnam :A Gravity Model Approach," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 56(1), pages 83-108.
    3. Mahmoud M. Sabra, 2016. "Government size, country size, openness and economic growth in selected MENA countries," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 9(1), pages 39-45, April.
    4. Ciaian, Pavel & Kancs, d'Artis & Pokrivcak, Jan, 2011. "Comparative Advantages, Transaction Costs and Factor Content in Agricultural Trade: Empirical Evidence from the CEE - Vantaggi comparati, costi di transazione e contenuto dei fattori nel commercio agr," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 64(1), pages 67-101.
    5. Nuria Gallego & Carlos Llano, 2014. "The Border Effect and the Nonlinear Relationship between Trade and Distance," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 1016-1048, November.
    6. Hanh Vu Thi, 2015. "Essays on the Export Performance of Vietnam/Essais sur la Performance à l'Exportation du Vietnam," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/216765, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gravity model; Exports; Instrumental variables; two-step estimators; Monte Carlo.;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

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