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Trade Costs, Trade Balances And Current Accounts: An Application Of Gravity To Multilateral Trade

  • Giorgio Fazio
  • Ronald MacDonald
  • Jacques Melitz

In this paper we test the well-known hypothesis of Obstfeld and Rogoff (2000) that trade costs are the key to explaining the so-called Feldstein-Horioka puzzle. Our approach has a number of novel features. First, we focus on the interrelationship between trade costs, the trade account and the Feldstein-Horioka puzzle. Second, we use the gravity model to estimate the effect of trade costs on bilateral trade and, third, we show how bilateral trade can be used to draw inferences about desired trade balances and desired intertemporal trade. Our econo-metric results provide strong support for the Obstfeld and Rogoff hypothesis and we are also able to reconcile our results with the so-called home bias puzzle.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2007_18.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2007_18
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  1. 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.
  2. Rose, Andrew K, 1999. "One Money, One Market: Estimating the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Long-Term Capital Movements," Trinity Economics Papers 200112, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    • Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2002. "Long-Term Capital Movements," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 73-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  5. Tamim Bayoumi, 1999. "Estimating Trade Equations from Aggregate Bilateral Data," IMF Working Papers 99/74, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Capital mobility in the world economy: Theory and measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 55-103, January.
  7. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1989. "The Generalized Gravity Equation, Monopolistic Competition, and the Factor-Proportions Theory in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 143-53, February.
  8. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
  10. Gordon, R.H. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1994. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? : Possible explanations and implications for capital income taxation," Discussion Paper 1994-63, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Endogenous Tradability andMacroeconomic Implications," Working Papers 513, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  12. Kraay, Aart & Loayza, Norman & Servén, Luis & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "Country Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 2974, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Paul R. Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Endogenous nontradability and macroeconomic implications," Working Paper Series 2003-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  16. Kraay, A. & Ventura, J., 1997. "Current Acounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," Working papers 97-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Melitz, Jacques, 2002. "Language and Foreign Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Andrew B. Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 1998. "Export Entry and Exit by German Firms," NBER Working Papers 6538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2002. "Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run," NBER Working Papers 9030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Taylor, Alan M., 2002. "A century of current account dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 725-748, November.
  21. Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Imperfect competition and international trade: Evidence from fourteen industrial countries," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 62-81, March.
  22. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "External Wealth, the Trade Balance, and the Real Exchange Rate," Trinity Economics Papers 200121, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  23. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  24. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2007. "A Model of Endogenous Nontradability and its Implications for the Current Account," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 916-931, November.
  25. 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.
  26. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Bovenberg, A.L. & Gordon, R.H., 1996. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? Possible explanation and implications for capital income taxation," Other publications TiSEM 6a131c21-fd9a-4d83-8d9a-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  28. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  29. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  30. 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.
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