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On the Specification of the Gravity Model of Trade: Zeros, Excess Zeros and Zero-Inflated Estimation

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  • Burger, M.J.
  • van Oort, F.G.
  • Linders, G.J.M.

Abstract

Conventional studies of bilateral trade patterns specify a log-normal gravity equation for empirical estimation. However, the log-normal gravity equation suffers from three problems: the bias created by the logarithmic transformation, the failure of the homoscedasticity assumption, and the way zero values are treated. These problems normally result in biased and inefficient estimates. Recently, the Poisson specification of the trade gravity model has received attention as an alternative to the log-normality assumption (Santos Silva and Tenreyro, 2006). However, the standard Poisson model is vulnerable for problems of overdispersion and excess zero flows. To overcome these problems, this paper considers modified Poisson fixed-effects estimations (negative binomial, zero-inflated). Extending the empirical model put forward by Santos Silva and Tenreyro (2006), we show how these techniques may provide viable alternatives to both the log-normal and standard Poisson specification of the gravity model of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Burger, M.J. & van Oort, F.G. & Linders, G.J.M., 2009. "On the Specification of the Gravity Model of Trade: Zeros, Excess Zeros and Zero-Inflated Estimation," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2009-003-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:14614
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    distance; gravity model; international trade; modified Poisson models;

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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