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Gravity without Apology: The Science of Elasticities, Distance, and Trade

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  • Peter Neary
  • Céline Carrère
  • Monika Mrázová

Abstract

Gravity as both fact and theory is one of the great success stories of recent research on international trade, and has featured prominently in the policy debate over Brexit. We first review the facts, noting the overwhelming evidence that trade tends to fall with distance. We then introduce some expository tools for understanding CES theories of gravity as a simple general-equilibrium system. Next, we point out some anomalies with the theory: mounting evidence against constant trade elasticities, and implausible predictions for bilateral trade balances. Finally, we sketch an approach based on subconvex gravity as a promising direction to resolving them.

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  • Peter Neary & Céline Carrère & Monika Mrázová, 2020. "Gravity without Apology: The Science of Elasticities, Distance, and Trade," Economics Series Working Papers 904, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:904
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    2. Wim Naudé & Martin Cameron, 2021. "Export-Led Growth after COVID-19: The Case of Portugal," Notas Económicas, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, issue 52, pages 7-53, July.
    3. David M. Kemme & Bhavik Parikh & Tanja Steigner, 2021. "Inequality, autocracy, and sovereign funds as determinants of foreign portfolio equity flows," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 249-278, June.
    4. Bernhard Schuetz, 2022. "Investment booms, diverging competitiveness and wage growth within a monetary union: An AB-SFC model," ICAE Working Papers 138, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    5. Natalie Chen & Dennis Novy, 2022. "Gravity and Heterogeneous Trade Cost Elasticities [Currency unions]," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(644), pages 1349-1377.
    6. Fontagné, Lionel & Guimbard, Houssein & Orefice, Gianluca, 2022. "Tariff-based product-level trade elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    7. Lucía Bolea & Rosa Duarte & Geoffrey J. D. Hewings & Sofía Jiménez & Julio Sánchez‐Chóliz, 2022. "The role of regions in global value chains: an analysis for the European Union," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 771-794, August.
    8. Yoto V. Yotov, 2022. "Gravity at Sixty: The Workhorse Model of Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 9584, CESifo.
    9. Gang Chen & Xue Dong & Patrick Minford & Guanhua Qiu & Yongdeng Xu & Zequn Xu, 2022. "Computable General Equilibrium Models of Trade in the Modern Trade Policy Debate," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 271-309, April.
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    11. Kelvin Balcombe & Dylan Bradley & Iain Fraser, 2021. "Do Consumers Really Care? An Economic Analysis of Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Produced Using Prohibited Production Methods," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(2), pages 452-469, June.
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    13. Georg Schneider & Frank Stähler & Georg U. Thunecke, 2022. "The (Non-)Neutrality of Value-Added Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 9663, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bilateral Trade Balances; Brexit; Elasticity of Trade to Distance; Quantile Regression; Structural Gravity and Trade; Subconvex Demands;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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