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

The Space of Gravity: Spatial Filtering Estimation of a Gravity Model for Bilateral Trade

Listed author(s):
  • Roberto Patuelli


    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Gert-Jan Linders


    (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, The Netherlands)

  • Rodolfo Metulini


    (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy)

  • Daniel A. Griffith


    (School of Economic, Political & Policy Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA)

Bilateral trade flows traditionally have been analysed by means of the spatial interaction gravity model. Still, (auto)correction of trade flows has only recently received attention in the literature. This paper takes up this thread of emerging literature, and shows that spatial filtering (SF) techniques can take into account the autocorrelation in trade flows. Furthermore, we show that the use of origin and destination specific spatial filters goes a long way in correcting for omitted variable bias in an otherwise standard empirical gravity equation. For a cross-section of bilateral trade flows, we compare an SF approach to two benchmark specifications that are consistent with theoretically derived gravity. The results are relevant for a number of reasons. First, we correct for autocorrelation in the residuals. Second, we suggest that the empirical gravity equation can still be considered in applied work, despite the theoretical arguments for its misspecification due to omitted multilateral resistance terms. Third, if we include SF variables, we can still resort t any desired estimator, such as OLS, Poisson or negative binomial regression. Finally, interpreting endogeneity bias as autocorrelation in regressor variables and residuals allows for a more general specification of the gravity equation than the relatively restricted theoretical gravity equation. In particular, we can include additional country-specific push and pull variables, besides GDP (e.g., land area, landlockedness, and per capita GDP). A final analysis provides autocorrelation diagnostics according to different candidate indicators.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 15-27.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2015
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:15-27
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Patara, 3, 47921 Rimini (RN)

Phone: +390541434142
Fax: +39054155431
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

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:rim:rimwps:15-27. 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: (Marco Savioli)

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.