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

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Abstract

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!

Suggested Citation

  • Joern Kleinert & Katja Neugebauer, 2012. "All You Need Is Trade: On the In(ter)dependence of Trade and Asset Holdings in Gravity Equations," IAW Discussion Papers 80, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:80
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene, 2005. "The determinants of cross-border equity flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 269-296, March.
    2. Martin, Philippe & Rey, Helene, 2004. "Financial super-markets: size matters for asset trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 335-361, December.
    3. Katja Neugebauer, 2010. "Banks in Space: Does Distance Really Affect Cross-Border Banking?," Working Paper / FINESS 2.5, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Aviat, Antonin & Coeurdacier, Nicolas, 2007. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 22-51, March.
    5. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2004. "A Gravity Model of Sovereign Lending: Trade, Default, and Credit," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 50-63, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    8. 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.
    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 851-869, December.
    10. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; international banking; gravity equations;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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