IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Disaggregated Trade Flows and the "Missing Globalization Puzzle"


  • Boriss Siliverstovs
  • Dieter Schumacher


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Boriss Siliverstovs & Dieter Schumacher, 2008. "Disaggregated Trade Flows and the "Missing Globalization Puzzle"," KOF Working papers 08-209, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:08-209

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2014. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: European Economic Integration, WTO Membership, Immigration and Offshoring, chapter 4, pages 115-148 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 474-481, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2008. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 310-320, July.
    7. Jean-François Brun & Céline Carrère & Patrick Guillaumont & Jaime de Melo, 2015. "Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 13, pages 299-320 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Buch, Claudia M. & Kleinert, Jorn & Toubal, Farid, 2004. "The distance puzzle: on the interpretation of the distance coefficient in gravity equations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 293-298, June.
    9. 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 143-153, February.
    10. 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.
    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. 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.
    13. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    14. 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.
    15. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
    16. Dieter Schumacher & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2006. "Home-Market and Factor-Endowment Effects in a Gravity Approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 142(2), pages 330-353, July.
    17. repec:lmu:muenar:20646 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Faqin, 2013. "Are distance effects really a puzzle?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 684-689.
    2. Juyoung Cheong & Do Won Kwak & Kam Ki Tang, 2016. "The distance effects on the intensive and extensive margins of trade over time," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 253-278, March.
    3. Bassem Kahouli & Anis Omri & Anissa Chaibi, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Trade, and Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from Gravity Equations," Working Papers 2014-189, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    4. repec:eee:riibaf:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:353-364 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. MARKIANIDOU, Paresa & WEEREN, Arie, 2011. "Linear and nonlinear growth models using mixed modeling: An application on European import volumes," Working Papers 2011011, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
    6. Samuel Standaert & Stijn Ronsse & Benjamin Vandermarliere, 2014. "Historical trade integration: Globalization and the distance puzzle in the long 20th century," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 14/897, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

    More about this item


    Gravity model; Missing globalization puzzle; Distance coefficient; Multilateral resistance;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:08-209. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.