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Ethnic Networks, Information, and International Trade: Revisiting the Evidence

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Abstract

Influential empirical work by Rauch and Trindade (REStat, 2002) finds that Chinese ethnic networks of the magnitude observed in Southeast Asia increase bilateral trade by at least 60%. We argue that this estimate is upward biased due to omitted variable bias. Moreover, it is partly related to a preference effect rather than to enforcement and/or the availability of information. Applying a theory-based gravity model to ethnicity data for 1980 and 1990, and focusing on pure network effects, we find that the Chinese network leads to a more modest amount of trade creation of about 15%. Using new data on bilateral stocks of migrants from the World Bank for the year of 2000, we extend the analysis to all potential ethnic networks. We find, i.a., evidence for a Polish, a Turkish, a Mexican, or an Indian network. While confirming the existence of a Chinese network, its trade creating potential is dwarfed by other ethnic networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel J Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung & Farid Toubal, 2009. "Ethnic Networks, Information, and International Trade: Revisiting the Evidence," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 306/2009, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hoh:hohdip:306
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    Cited by:

    1. Murat Genc & Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2012. "The impact of immigration on international trade: a meta-analysis," Chapters,in: Migration Impact Assessment, chapter 9, pages 301-337 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Mariya Aleksynska & Giovanni Peri, 2014. "Isolating the Network Effect of Immigrants on Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 434-455, March.
    3. Hiller, Sanne, 2011. "Does Immigrant Employment Matter for Exports? Evidence From Denmark," Working Papers 11-16, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    4. Lin, Xiaohua & Yang, Xiyan, 2017. "From human capital externality to entrepreneurial aspiration: Revisiting the migration-trade linkage," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 360-371.
    5. Sanne Hiller, 2014. "The Export Promoting Effect of Emigration: Evidence from Denmark," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 693-708, November.
    6. Heid, Benedikt & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Migration, trade and unemployment," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-40.
    7. CHRIS MILNER & DANNY McGOWAN, 2013. "Trade Costs And Trade Composition," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1886-1902, July.
    8. Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2010. "Migrant Networks as substitute for institutions: Evidence from Swiss trade," IHEID Working Papers 03-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    9. Magnus Lodefalk, 2016. "Temporary expats for exports: micro-level evidence," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(4), pages 733-772, November.
    10. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:17:y:2017:i:5:p:1009-1038. is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "How Migrant Networks Facilitate Trade: Evidence from Swiss Exports," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 148(III), pages 449-476, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gravity model; international trade; network effects; international migration. regression;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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