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All You Need Is Trade: On the In(ter)dependence of Trade and Asset Holdings in Gravity Equations

This paper looks at the interrelationship between trade in goods and asset holdings, as brought forward by some contributions to the empirical literature in international economics. These contributions argue that single-equation gravity models suffer from an endogeneity bias, culminating in a request for the estimation of systems of gravity equations. Yet, the theoretical basis for such an interrelationship is weak. In this paper we present baseline models of international trade in goods and bank asset holdings, which yield gravity equations that can be tested empirically. We then use these models to test three different explanations for the interrelationship between trade in goods and asset holdings that have been brought forward by the literature: (i) consumption hedging, (ii) sovereign risk, (iii) information spillovers. Our results indicate that none of these channels can explain the interrelationship. We therefore conclude that single-equation gravity models, as opposed to systems of gravity equations, are justified: All you need is trade!

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File URL: http://www.iaw.edu/RePEc/iaw/pdf/iaw_dp_80.pdf
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Paper provided by Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW) in its series IAW Discussion Papers with number 80.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:80
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  1. Antonin Aviat & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2004. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," DELTA Working Papers 2004-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Martin, Philippe & Rey, Hélène, 1999. "Financial Super-Markets: Size Matters for Asset Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Katja Neugebauer, 2011. "Banks in Space: Does Distance Really Affect Cross-Border Banking?," IAW Discussion Papers 70, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  4. Richard Portes & Helene Rey, 2000. "The determinants of cross-border equity flows," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20203, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2002. "A gravity model of sovereign lending: trade, default and credit," Working Paper Series 2002-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  7. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Kollmann, Robert & Martin, Philippe, 2010. "International portfolios, capital accumulation and foreign assets dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 100-112, January.
  9. Buch, Claudia M, 2003. " Information or Regulation: What Drives the International Activities of Commercial Banks?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 851-69, December.
  10. 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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