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The econometrics of elasticities or the elasticity of econometrics: an empirical analysis of the behavior of U.S. imports


  • Jaime R. Marquez


Fifty years of econometric modeling of U.S. import demand assumes that trade elasticities are autonomous parameters, that both cross-price effects and simultaneity biases are absent, and that expenditures on domestic and foreign goods can be studied independently of each other. To relax these assumptions, the paper assembles a simultaneous model explaining bilateral U.S. import volumes and prices. Spending behaves according to the Rotterdam model which, by design, embodies all of the properties of utility maximization and does not treat trade elasticities as autonomous parameters. Pricing behaves according to the pricing-to-market hypothesis which recognizes exporters' incentives to discriminate across export markets. Parameter estimation relies on the Full Information Maximum Likelihood (FIML) approach and uses bilateral price data for 1965-1987. According to the evidence, treating trade elasticities as autonomous parameters and ignoring the statistical implications of simultaneity and optimization impart significant biases to the structural estimates and undermine our effectiveness in addressing questions relevant to economic interactions among nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaime R. Marquez, 1991. "The econometrics of elasticities or the elasticity of econometrics: an empirical analysis of the behavior of U.S. imports," International Finance Discussion Papers 396, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1991.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:396

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    Cited by:

    1. Feenstra, Robert C. & Gagnon, Joseph E. & Knetter, Michael M., 1996. "Market share and exchange rate pass-through in world automobile trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 187-207, February.
    2. Idrisova, Vittoria (Идрисова, Виттория), 2017. "Determinants of Value-Added Exports: The Role of Import Demand Factors [Детерминанты Экспорта Добавленной Стоимости: Роль Факторов Спроса На Импорт]," Working Papers 051715, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    3. Olivier Cortès & Sébastien Jean, 1996. "Pays émergents, emploi déficient ?," Working Papers 1996-05, CEPII research center.

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    Imports; Econometrics;


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