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Exploring the intensive and extensive margins of world trade

  • Felbermayr, Gabriel
  • Kohler, Wilhelm K.

World trade evolves at two margins. Where a bilateral trading relationship already exists it may increase through time (intensive margin). But trade may also increase if a trading bilateral relationship is newly established between countries that have not traded with each other in the past (extensive margin). We provide an empirical dissection of post-World War II growth in manufacturing world trade along these two margins. We propose a "corner-solutions version" of the gravity model to explain movements on both margins. A Tobit estimation of this model resolves the so-called "distance puzzle". It also finds more convincing evidence than recent literature that WTO-membership enhances trade.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20610.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Review of World Economics 4 142(2006): pp. 642-674
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20610
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Shang-Jin Wei & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," IMF Working Papers 03/185, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling trade costs, heterogeneous firms and industry dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20027, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Alan V. Deardorff, 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Working Papers 5377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rose, Andrew K, 2002. "Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
  9. Rozanski, Jerzy & Yeats, Alexander, 1994. "On the (in)accuracy of economic observations: An assessment of trends in the reliability of international trade statistics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 103-130, June.
  10. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, June.
  11. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Gravity-defying trade," Working Papers 03-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Evenett, S. J. & Keller, W., 1994. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Working papers 9713, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Douglas A. Irwin & Marko Tervio, 2000. "Does Trade Raise Income? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Wacziarg, Romain & Welch, Karen Horn, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," Research Papers 1826, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  15. Alan V Deardorff, 2004. "Local Comparative Advantage: Trade Costs and the Pattern of Trade," Working Papers 500, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  16. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  17. Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1998. "The Role of History in Bilateral Trade Flows," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 33-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  21. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  22. Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2004. "Distance, trade and FDI: a Hausman-Taylor SUR approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 227-246.
  23. repec:rus:hseeco:123558 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72.
  25. Rikhil Bhavnani & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian & David T. Coe, 2002. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle," IMF Working Papers 02/171, International Monetary Fund.
  26. 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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