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A New Perspective On China Trade Growth: Application Of A New Index Of Bilateral Trade Intensity


  • Christopher Edmonds

    () (University of Hawaii at Manoa, CTAHR, Center on the Family)

  • Yao Li

    () (College of Management and Economics at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China)


This paper analyzes China’s trade relationships using a new trade intensity index, which incorporates gravity model estimation, to compare observed trade levels with levels would be expected to prevail given the economic, geographic, and cultural characteristics of the trading partners. The index is calculated to study China’s bilateral trade intensity, and uses Japan as a comparative case. Standard trade intensity index measures suggest China trades at a very intensive level with countries in East and Southeast Asia (ESA) and at a low level with countries in Europe (EU) and US-Canada (USC). The gravity model based index indicates that China’s level of trade with countries in the ESA region is consistent with levels that would be expected given the countries’ characteristics, while China’s level of trade with EU and USC are greater than one would expect given their characteristics. The new index also reveals insights regarding the evolution of China’s trade partners during the years 1988-2005. The paper’s results suggest the gravity model adjusted trade intensity index can provide a useful analytical tool for identifying strategic or other deviations in trade levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Edmonds & Yao Li, 2010. "A New Perspective On China Trade Growth: Application Of A New Index Of Bilateral Trade Intensity," Working Papers 201025, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Drysdale, Peter & Garnaut, Ross, 1982. "Trade Intensities and the Analysis of Bilateral Trade Flows in a Many-Country World : A Survey," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 22(2), pages 62-84, February.
    3. Richard Baldwin & Daria Taglioni, 2006. "Gravity for Dummies and Dummies for Gravity Equations," NBER Working Papers 12516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kunimoto, Kazutaka, 1977. "Typology of Trade Intensity Indices," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 17(2), pages 15-32, February.
    5. Dean, Judith M. & Lovely, Mary E. & Mora, Jesse, 2009. "Decomposing China-Japan-U.S. trade: Vertical specialization, ownership, and organizational form," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 596-610, November.
    6. Kojima, Kiyoshi, 1964. "The Pattern of International Trade Among Advanced Countries," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 5(1), pages 16-36, June.
    7. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Crescimanno & Domenico Farruggia & Antonino Galati & Dario Siggia, 2013. "Intensità degli scambi agroalimentari tra i Paesi del bacino del Mediterraneo," ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 15(1), pages 13-35.

    More about this item


    Gravity model; Trade Intensity Index; Bilateral Trade; China;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation

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