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The Tradability of Services: Geographic Concentration and Trade Costs

  • Antoine Gervais
  • J. Bradford Jensen

In this paper, we use a unique dataset on the distribution of output and demand across regions of the United States to estimate trade costs for 969 service and manufacturing industries. Our estimation method is a natural extension of the gravity model of trade and identifies trade costs in the absence of trade data. The estimated trade costs are higher on average for service industries, but there is considerable variation across industries within sectors. Using the trade cost estimates, we classify industries into tradable and non-tradable categories. We find that accounting for tradable service industries nearly doubles the international exposure of the US economy, tradable services value added is unevenly distributed across geographical regions, labor productivity and wages are higher on average for tradable industries, and potential welfare gains from trade liberalization in the service sector are sizable.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19759.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19759
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  1. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2012. "The Rise of the Service Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2540-69, October.
  2. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences in Firm Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 16853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1995. "On the turnover of business firms and business managers," Working Papers 545, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Runjuan Liu & Daniel Trefler, 2008. "Much Ado About Nothing: American Jobs and the Rise of Service Outsourcing to China and India," NBER Working Papers 14061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hoekman, Bernard, 2006. "Liberalizing trade in services : a survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4030, The World Bank.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Lee G. Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley & James Harrigan & J. Bradford Jensen & Lori Kletzer & Catherine Mann & Peter K. Schott & Greg C. Wright, 2010. "Report on the State of Available Data for the Study of International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 16254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James E. Anderson & Catherine A. Milot & Yoto V. Yotov, 2011. "The Incidence of Geography on Canada's Services Trade," NBER Working Papers 17630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  10. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2010. "International Trade in Services: A Portrait of Importers and Exporters," CEPR Discussion Papers 7837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Woan Foong Wong, 2010. "Figuring Out the Doha Round," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa91, 03.
  13. Ellison, G. & Glaeser, E.L., 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Working papers 94-27, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Egger, Peter & Larch, Mario & Staub, Kevin E, 2012. "Trade Preferences and Bilateral Trade in Goods and Services: A Structural Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 9051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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