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Disaggregated Trade Flows and the “Missing Globalization Puzzle”

This study analyzes the stability of the distance coefficient values over time in the generalized gravity equation of Bergstrand (1989) using both aggregate and disaggregated trade flows among 22 OECD countries recorded for the sample period covering 1970 until 2000. We estimate the gravity equation both in its traditional form as well as by taking into account multilateral resistance as suggested in Baier and Bergstrand (2007). First of all, we find that the missing globalization puzzle, typically observed in empirical gravity models for aggregate trade flows, largely disappears when one estimates a gravity model using disaggregated trade data at the level of individual industries. Secondly, we document that accounting for multilateral price resistance alone can provide some evidence against the missing globalization puzzle. At the same time, the results obtained for a traditional specification of the gravity equation emphasizing the importance of disaggregated trade flows in explaining the distance puzzle remain largely intact. We also illustrate how the aggregation bias could have contributed to a typical finding of a non-declining trade-deterring role of distance in the existing literature.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 08-209.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:08-209
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  1. Eaton Jonathan & Tamura Akiko, 1994. "Bilateralism and Regionalism in Japanese and U.S. Trade and Direct Foreign Investment Patterns," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 478-510, December.
  2. repec:lmu:muenar:20646 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Claudia M. Buch & Jörn Kleinert & Farid Toubal, 2003. "The Distance Puzzle: On the Interpretation of the Distance Coefficient in Gravity Equations," Kiel Working Papers 1159, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2004. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3293, The World Bank.
  6. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  7. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  8. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2004. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 1276, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  10. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1989. "The Generalized Gravity Equation, Monopolistic Competition, and the Factor-Proportions Theory in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 143-53, February.
  11. Rikhil Bhavnani & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian & David T. Coe, 2002. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle," IMF Working Papers 02/171, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
  13. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-81, August.
  14. Feenstra, Robert C, 2002. "Border Effects and the Gravity Equation: Consistent Methods for Estimation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 491-506, December.
  15. Dieter Schumacher & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2006. "Home-Market and Factor-Endowment Effects in a Gravity Approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(2), pages 330-353, July.
  16. Jean-François Brun & Céline Carrère & Patrick Guillaumont & Jaime de Melo, 2005. "Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 99-120.
  17. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
  18. David T Coe & Arvind Subramanian & Natalia T Tamirisa, 2007. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle: Evidence of the Declining Importance of Distance," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(1), pages 34-58, May.
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