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Undertstanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods

  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • James A. Markusen
  • Andrew K. Rose

This paper argues that the theoretical foundations for the gravity equation are general, while the empirical performance of the gravity equation is specific to the type of goods examined. Most existing theory for the gravity equation depends on the assumption of differentiated goods. We show that the gravity equation can also be derived from a reciprocal dumping' model of trade in homogeneous goods. The different theories have different testable implications. Theoretically, the gravity equation should have a lower domestic income elasticity for exports of homogeneous goods than of differentiated goods, because of a home market' effect which depends on barriers to entry. We quantify the home market effect empirically using cross-sectional gravity equations, and find that domestic income export elasticities are indeed substantially higher for differentiated goods than for homogeneous goods.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6804.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6804
Note: ITI
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  1. Davis, D.R., 1997. "The Home Market, Trade, and Industrial Structure," Papers 597, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Brander, James & Krugman, Paul, 1983. "A 'reciprocal dumping' model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 313-321, November.
  3. Simon J. Evenett & Wolfgang Keller, 1998. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," NBER Working Papers 6529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Market Access, Economic Geography and Comparative Advantage: An Empirical Assessment," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1850, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Davis, Donald R., 1995. "Intra-industry trade: A Heckscher-Ohlin-Ricardo approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 201-226, November.
  6. Hummels, D. & Levinsohn, J., 1993. "Monopolistic Competition and International Trade: Reconsidering the Evidence," Working Papers 339, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  7. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  8. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  9. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  10. Markusen, James R., 1981. "Trade and the gains from trade with imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 531-551, November.
  11. Venables, Anthony J., 1985. "Trade and trade policy with imperfect competition: The case of identical products and free entry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-19, August.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Imperfect competition and international trade: Evidence from fourteen industrial countries," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 62-81, March.
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