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Gravity-defying trade

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  • J. M. C. Santos Silva
  • Silvana Tenreyro

Abstract

Heteroskedasticity and the existence of zero values in bilateral-trade data lead to significant biases in standard estimations of the gravity equation. We propose a new estimation technique that addresses these problems, and provide novel estimates of the gravity equation. Three results stand out. First, contrary to general belief, income elasticities are significantly smaller than 1, suggesting modifications to standard trade models. Second, simple estimators of the gravity equation greatly exaggerate the roles of distance and colonial links. Finally, bilateral trade between countries that have signed a free-trade agreement is 30 percent larger than that between other countries, a magnitude remarkably different from that predicted by conventional methods (above 100 percent).

Suggested Citation

  • J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Gravity-defying trade," Working Papers 03-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:03-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Cipollina & Luca Salvatici, 2010. "Reciprocal Trade Agreements in Gravity Models: A Meta-Analysis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 63-80, February.
    2. Assaf Razin & Yona Rubinstein & Efraim Sadka, 2003. "Which Countries Export FDI, and How Much?," NBER Working Papers 10145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2014. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: European Economic Integration, WTO Membership, Immigration and Offshoring, chapter 4, pages 115-148 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Caselli, Francesco & Wilson, Daniel J., 2004. "Importing technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-32, January.
    5. Tenreyro, Silvana, 2007. "On the trade impact of nominal exchange rate volatility," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 485-508, March.
    6. Maria Cipollina & David Laborde Debucquet & Luca Salvatici, 2017. "The tide that does not raise all boats: an assessment of EU preferential trade policies," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(1), pages 199-231, February.
    7. Cooke, Edgar F A, 2011. "The impact of trade preferences on exports of developing countries: the case of the AGOA and CBI preferences of the USA," MPRA Paper 31439, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Razin, Assaf & Rubinstein, Yona & Sadka, Efraim, 2004. "Fixed Costs and FDI: The Conflicting Effects of Productivity Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 4732, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Nuno Crespo & Maria Paula Fontoura, 2007. "Integration of CEECs into EU Market: Structural Change and Convergence," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45, pages 611-632, September.
    10. repec:eee:techno:v:70-71:y:2018:i::p:59-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Hui Tong, 2008. "Bilateral FDI Flows: Threshold Barriers and Productivity Shocks," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(3), pages 451-470, September.
    12. Ben Dolman, 2007. "Patterns of Migration, Trade and Foreign Direct Investment across OECD Countries," DEGIT Conference Papers c012_030, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    13. Enrique Martínez-Galán & Maria-Paula Fontoura & Isabel Proença, 2005. "Trade Potential In An Enlarged European Union: A Recent Approach," International Trade 0508011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.

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    Keywords

    Free trade;

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