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Applying the gravity approach to sector trade: who bears the trade costs?

  • A. Cheptea

    (SMART - Structures et Marché Agricoles, Ressources et Territoires - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - Agrocampus Ouest)

  • A. Gohin

    (SMART - Structures et Marché Agricoles, Ressources et Territoires - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - Agrocampus Ouest)

  • Maryline Huchet-Bourdon

    ()

    (SMART - Structures et Marché Agricoles, Ressources et Territoires - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - Agrocampus Ouest)

Thanks to its empirical success, the gravity approach is widely used to explain trade patterns between countries. In this article we question the simple application of this approach to product/sector-level trade on two grounds. First, we demonstrate that the traditional Armington version of gravity must be altered to properly account for the fact that sector expenditures are not strictly equal to sector productions because some trade costs are incurred outside the sector of interest. Secondly, we show empirically that collecting/using good data on sector-level trade and expenditure is extremely crucial for the quality of econometric estimations. Above all one should strictly adhere to the requirements of the theoretical frameworks in order to obtain unbiased and accurate estimates of the different parameters.

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Date of creation: 11 Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00742046
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  1. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
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  11. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
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  13. Jon Haveman & David Hummels, 2004. "Alternative hypotheses and the volume of trade: the gravity equation and the extent of specialization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 199-218, February.
  14. Harrigan, James, 1996. "Openness to trade in manufactures in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 23-39, February.
  15. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  16. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  17. Richard Baldwin & Daria Taglioni, 2006. "Gravity for Dummies and Dummies for Gravity Equations," NBER Working Papers 12516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  19. Bruno Henry de Frahan & Mark Vancauteren, 2006. "Harmonisation of food regulations and trade in the Single Market: evidence from disaggregated data," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 337-360, September.
  20. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
  21. Paul S. Armington, 1969. "A Theory of Demand for Products Distinguished by Place of Production (Une théorie de la demande de produits différenciés d'après leur origine) (Una teoría de la demanda de productos distinguiénd," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(1), pages 159-178, March.
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