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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. Hoekman, Bernard, 2006. "Liberalizing trade in services : a survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4030, The World Bank.
  2. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
  3. James A Schmitz & Thomas J Holmes, 1994. "On The Turnover of Business Firms and Business Managers," Working Papers 92-6, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences In Firm Productivity?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(4), pages 961-989, November.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2006. "The Rise of the Service Economy," 2006 Meeting Papers 496, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Woan Foong Wong, 2010. "Figuring Out the Doha Round," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa91.
  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. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2011. "International trade in services: A portrait of importers and exporters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 188-206, July.
  14. 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.
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