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The Structure and Growth of International Trade

  • Massimo Riccaboni

    (Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University di Trento (Italy)
    Department of Physics Boston University)

  • Stefano Schiavo

    (Department of Economics, University of Trento
    Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques)

The paper develops a model of proportionate growth to describe the dynamics of international trade flows. We show that a large number of the empirical regularities characterizing international trade — such as the fraction of zero trade flows across pairs of countries, the positive relationship between intensive and extensive margins, the high concentration of trade with respect to both products and destinations, the core-periphery structure of exchanges — are well explained by this simple stochastic setup. This helps us to distinguish among economically relevant regularities and those simply resulting from the mechanical interactions among agents. Furthermore, our model can be used to describe the process of 'self-discovery' that lie at the foundations of successful export-led growth and is thought to play a crucial role in the process of economic development. Our model correctly predicts that large export flows are rare events, as pointed out in the empirical literature: yet, countries characterized by large 'discovery' efforts are much more likely to draw a 'big hit' due to the (very skewed) shape of the distribution of bilateral export flows.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2009-24.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:0924
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEP Discussion Papers dp0795, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "The Margins of US Trade," Working Paper Series WP10-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  3. Fagiolo, Giorgio & Reyes, Javier & Schiavo, Stefano, 2008. "On the topological properties of the world trade web: A weighted network analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(15), pages 3868-3873.
  4. Garlaschelli, Diego & Loffredo, Maria I., 2005. "Structure and evolution of the world trade network," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 355(1), pages 138-144.
  5. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2007. "Structural gravity equations with intensive and extensive margins," EconomiX Working Papers 2007-36, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  6. Paulo Guimarães & Octávio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2008. "Dartboard Tests for the Location Quotient," FEP Working Papers 273, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  7. Giorgio Fagiolo & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini, 2006. "Are Output Growth-Rate Distributions Fat-Tailed? Some Evidence from OECD Countries," Working Papers 36/2006, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  8. Massimo Riccaboni & Fabio Pammolli & Sergey V. Buldyrev & Linda Ponta & H. Eugene Stanley, 2009. "The Size Variance Relationship of Business Firm Growth Rates," ROCK Working Papers 052, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 11 Jun 2009.
  9. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2008. "The World-Trade Web: Topological Properties, Dynamics, and Evolution," LEM Papers Series 2008/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Dongfeng Fu & Fabio Pammolli & S. V. Buldyrev & Massimo Riccaboni & Kaushik Matia & Kazuko Yamasaki & H. E. Stanley, 2005. "The Growth of Business Firms: Theoretical Framework and Empirical Evidence," Papers physics/0512005, arXiv.org.
  11. Sebastian Krautheim, 2007. "Gravity and Information: Heterogeneous Firms, Exporter Networks and the 'Distance Puzzle'," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/51, European University Institute.
  12. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  13. Massimo Riccaboni & Stefano Schiavo, 2009. "The Structure and Growth of Weighted Networks," Papers 0908.0348, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2009.
  14. Sergey V. Buldyrev & Jakub Growiec & Fabio Pammolli & Massimo Riccaboni & H. Eugene Stanley, 2007. "The Growth of Business Firms: Facts and Theory," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 574-584, 04-05.
  15. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," Working Paper Series rwp02-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  16. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2004. "Fitness-dependent topological properties of the World Trade Web," Papers cond-mat/0403051, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2004.
  17. Yamasaki, Kazuko & Matia, Kaushik & Buldyrev, Sergey V. & Fu, Dongfeng & Pammolli, Fabio & Riccaboni, Massimo & Stanley, H. Eugene, 2004. "Preferential attachment and growth dynamics in complex systems," MPRA Paper 15908, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 Feb 2006.
  18. Growiec, Jakub & Pammolli, Fabio & Riccaboni, Massimo & Stanley, H. Eugene, 2008. "On the size distribution of business firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 207-212, February.
  19. K. Bhattacharya & G. Mukherjee & J. Saramaki & K. Kaski & S. S. Manna, 2007. "The International Trade Network: weighted network analysis and modelling," Papers 0707.4343, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2008.
  20. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2005. "Structure and Evolution of the World Trade Network," Papers physics/0502066, arXiv.org, revised May 2005.
  21. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
  22. Raja Kali & Javier Reyes, 2010. "Financial Contagion On The International Trade Network," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1072-1101, October.
  23. Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2006. "Product differentiation and duration of US import trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 339-358, December.
  24. Armenter, Roc & Koren, Miklós, 2010. "A Balls-and-Bins Model of Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7783, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Cesar A. Hidalgo & Ricardo Hausmann, 2009. "The Building Blocks of Economic Complexity," Papers 0909.3890, arXiv.org.
  26. 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.
  27. Besedes, Tibor & Prusa, Thomas J., 2011. "The role of extensive and intensive margins and export growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 371-379, November.
  28. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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