IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Elasticity of Trade: Estimates and Evidence

  • Michael Waugh

    (New York University - Stern)

  • Ina Simonovska

    (University of California - Davis)

Quantitative results from a large class of structural gravity models of international trade depend critically on a single parameter governing the elasticity of trade with respect to trade frictions. We provide a new method to estimate this elasticity and illustrate the merits of our approach relative to the estimation strategy of Eaton and Kortum (2002). We employ this method on data for 123 developed and developing countries for the year 2004 using new disaggregate price and trade flow data. Our benchmark estimate for all countries is approximately 4.5, nearly 50 percent lower than the alternative estimation strategy would suggest. This difference implies a doubling of the measured welfare costs of autarky across a large class of widely used trade models.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 637.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:637
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lux, Matthias, 2011. "Defying Gravity: The Substitutability of Transportation in International Trade," MPRA Paper 36395, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2012.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  5. Simonovska, Ina; Waugh, Michael E., 2010. "The Elasticity of Trade: Estimates & Evidence," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 13, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  6. Johnson, Robert C., 2012. "Trade and prices with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-56.
  7. Levchenko, Andrei A. & Zhang, Jing, 2016. "The evolution of comparative advantage: Measurement and welfare implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 96-111.
  8. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro, 2015. "Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-44.
  9. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  10. Jean Imbs & Isabelle Méjean, 2009. "Elasticity optimism," Working Papers hal-00362403, HAL.
  11. 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.
  12. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based-Stabilizations," NBER Working Papers 7862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Baldwin, Richard & Harrigan, James, 2007. "Zeros, Quality and Space: Trade Theory and Trade Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Mario J. Crucini & Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2013. "Understanding Long-run Price Dispersion," CAMA Working Papers 2013-57, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  15. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  16. John Romalis, 2007. "NAFTA's and CUSFTA's Impact on International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 416-435, August.
  17. Angus Deaton & Alan Heston, 2009. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-based national accounts," Working Papers 1186, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  18. Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The log of gravity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3744, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Miklos Koren & Roc Armenter, 2008. "A Balls-and-Bins Model of Trade," 2008 Meeting Papers 365, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  22. Scott Bradford, 2003. "Paying the Price: Final Goods Protection in OECD Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 24-37, February.
  23. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Feenstra, Robert & Luck, Philip & Obstfeld, Maurice & Russ, Katheryn N., 2014. "In Search of the Armington Elasticity," CEPR Discussion Papers 9951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. University of Iowa & Michael E. Waugh, 2007. "International Trade and Income Differences," 2007 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  28. Mario Crucini & Chris Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2005. "Price Dispersion: The Role of Distance, Borders and Location," 2005 Meeting Papers 767, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  29. Ina Simonovska, 2011. "Income Differences and Prices of Tradables," Working Papers 1015, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  30. Ina Simonovska & Michael E. Waugh, 2011. "The Elasticity of Trade: Estimates and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 16796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  32. Scott Bradford & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2004. "Has Globalization Gone Far Enough: The Costs of Fragmented Markets," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 349, January.
  33. Jean Imbs & Isabelle Mejean, 2010. "Trade elasticities," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
  34. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  35. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
  36. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
  37. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. James G. MacKinnon & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Approximate Bias Correction in Econometrics," GSIA Working Papers 1997-36, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  39. Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "The International Elasticity Puzzle," Working Papers 08-30, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  40. 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.
  41. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
  42. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2015. "The Elusive Pro-Competitive Effects of Trade," NBER Working Papers 21370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  43. Ina Simonovska, 2010. "Income Differences and Prices of Tradables: Insights from an Online Retailer," NBER Working Papers 16233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed010:637. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.