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Gravity model specification and the effects of the Canada-U.S. border

  • Howard J. Wall

There is a well-established literature finding that the Canada-U.S. border has a large dampening effect on trade, is asymmetric, and differs across provinces. In this paper, I demonstrate that the standard gravity model used to obtain these results provides biased estimates of the volume of trade. I attribute this to heterogeneity bias and reestimate the effects of the border using a gravity model that allows for heterogeneous gravity equations. Doing so does not alter the general results of existing studies, although it does yield a border effect that is 40 percent larger, reverses the border's asymmetry, and indicates very different provincial effects.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2000-024.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2000-024
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  1. Bayoumi, Tamim & Eichengreen, Barry, 1995. "Is Regionalism Simply a Diversion? Evidence from the Evolution of the EC and EFTA," CEPR Discussion Papers 1294, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Laszlo Matyas, 1997. "Proper Econometric Specification of the Gravity Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 363-368, 05.
  3. I-Hui Cheng & Howard J. Wall, 2004. "Controlling for heterogeneity in gravity models of trade and integration," Working Papers 1999-010, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James E. Anderson, 1999. "Why Do Nations Trade (So Little)?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 428, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Anderson, Michael A & Smith, Stephen L S, 1999. "Do National Borders Really Matter? Canada-US Regional Trade Reconsidered," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 219-27, May.
  7. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2000. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt0sx02651, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
  9. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-81, August.
  11. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
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