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Gains from Trade: Does Sectoral Heterogeneity Matter?


  • Rahul Giri
  • Kei-Mu Yi
  • Hakan Yilmazkuday


This paper assesses the quantitative importance of including sectoral heterogeneity in computing the gains from trade. Our framework draws from Caliendo and Parro (2015) and Alvarez and Lucas (2007) and has sectoral heterogeneity along five dimensions, including the elasticity of trade to trade costs, the value-added share, and the input-output structure. The key parameter we estimate is the sectoral trade elasticity, and we use the Simonovska and Waugh (2014) simulated method of moments estimator with micro price data. Our estimates range from 2.97 to 8.94, considerably lower than those obtained with the Eaton and Kortum (2002) price-based method. Our benchmark model is calibrated to 21 OECD countries and 20 sectors. We compute the gains from trade in our benchmark model, and in several re-calibrated versions of the model in which we eliminate one or more sources of sectoral heterogeneity. Our main result is that sectoral heterogeneity does not always lead to an increase in the gains from trade. There are two reasons for this. First, the magnitudes of our estimated sectoral trade elasticities are relatively high, while the magnitude of our estimated aggregate trade elasticity is low. All else equal, this will lead to higher gains for the aggregate, one-sector model. Second, the sectors with low trade elasticities (hence, implying high gains from trade) are not the sectors with low value-added shares and with high initial trade shares (which would magnify the gains). Hence, the sectoral heterogeneity in our calibrated model does not exert complementary gains from trade effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Rahul Giri & Kei-Mu Yi & Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2018. "Gains from Trade: Does Sectoral Heterogeneity Matter?," Globalization Institute Working Papers 341, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 07 Mar 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:341
    DOI: 10.24149/gwp341

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ozlem Inanc & Marios Zachariadis, 2012. "The Importance Of Trade Costs In Deviations From The Law-Of-One-Price: Estimates Based On The Direction Of Trade," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 667-689, July.
    2. Mario J. Crucini & Chris I. Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2005. "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 724-738, June.
    3. Giri, Rahul, 2012. "Local costs of distribution, international trade costs and micro evidence on the law of one price," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 82-100.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dominick Bartelme & Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, "undated". "The Textbook Case for Industrial Policy: Theory Meets Data," Working Papers 675, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.

    More about this item


    international price dispersion; simulated method of moments; gains from trade; estimated trade elasticities; sectoral heterogeneity; multi-sector trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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