IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/umc/wpaper/0606.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inequality, Nonhomothetic Preferences, And Trade: A Gravity Approach

Author

Abstract

We construct the first direct classification of goods as luxuries or necessities that iscompatible with international trade data. We then use it to test an idea that has not beentested directly in the literature: countries income distributions are important determinants of their import demand, and in particular of the difference in their import demands of luxuries versus necessities. We interpret this result with the aid of a model in which preferences are nonhomothetic, thus relaxing a long-held and standard but empirically dubious assumption in the theory of international trade. Our model is strongly borne outby the results: imports of luxuries increase with importing countrys inequality, andimports of necessities decrease with it. Our calculations imply that if income distributionin the United States became as equal as in Canada, the US would import about 9 13% less in luxury goods and 13 19% more in necessity goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Vitor Trindade & Muhammed Dalgin & Devashish Mitra, 2006. "Inequality, Nonhomothetic Preferences, And Trade: A Gravity Approach," Working Papers 0606, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 08 May 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0606
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2006/wp0606_trindade.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James A. Dunlevy, 2006. "The Influence of Corruption and Language on the Protrade Effect of Immigrants: Evidence from the American States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 182-186, February.
    2. Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2005. "Inequality and trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1253-1271, November.
    3. Dow, James & da Costa Werlang, Sergio Ribeiro, 1992. "Homothetic preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 389-394.
    4. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    5. Freund, Caroline L. & Weinhold, Diana, 2004. "The effect of the Internet on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 171-189, January.
    6. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    7. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    9. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    10. Harrigan, James, 1996. "Openness to trade in manufactures in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 23-39, February.
    11. Feenstra, Robert C, 2002. "Border Effects and the Gravity Equation: Consistent Methods for Estimation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 491-506, December.
    12. Francois, Joseph F & Kaplan, Seth, 1996. "Aggregate Demand Shifts, Income Distribution, and the Linder Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 244-250, May.
    13. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-1011, December.
    14. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
    15. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    16. Simon J. Evenett & Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 281-316, April.
    17. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
    18. Andrew K. Rose & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "National Money as a Barrier to International Trade: The Real Case for Currency Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 386-390, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nonhomothetic tastes; gravity equation; inequality; luxuries; necessities;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0606. 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: (Valerie Kulp) or (Ilker Cakar). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/edumous.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.