IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation

  • Simon J. Evenett

    (University of Michigan Business School)

  • Wolfgang Keller

    (University of Wisconsin and NBER)

We analyze two main theories of international trade, the Heckscher-Ohlin theory and the Increasing Returns trade theory, by examining whether they can account for the empirical success of the so-called Gravity Equation. Since versions of both models can generate this prediction, we tackle the model identification problem by conditioning bilateral trade relations on factor endownment differences and the share of intra-industry trade, because only for large factor endowment differences does the Heckscher-Ohlin model generate specialization of production and the Gravity Equation, and it predicts inter-, not intra-industry trade. There are three major findings: First, little production is perfectly specialized due to factor endowment differences, making the perfect specialization version of the Heckscher-Ohlin model an unlikely candidate to explain the empirical success of the Gravity Equation. Second, increasing returns are important causes for perfect product specialization and the Gravity Equation, especially among industrialized countries. Third, to the extent that production is not perfectly specialized across countries, we find support for both Heckscher-Ohlin and Increasing Returns models. Based on these findings, we argue that both models explain different components of the international variation of production patterns and trade volumes, with important implications for productivity growth, labor, and macro economics.

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: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/it/papers/9608/9608001.tex
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/it/papers/9608/9608001.pdf
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/it/papers/9608/9608001.ps.gz
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 9608001.

as
in new window

Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 20 Aug 1996
Date of revision: 13 Jun 1997
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:9608001
Note: Type of Document - Latex (scientific word 2.0); prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 22 ; figures: download here or request from authors.
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Saxonhouse, G.R., 1988. "Differentiated Products, Economies Of Scale And Access To The Japanese Market," Working Papers 228, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  4. David Greenaway & Robert Hine & Chris Milner, 1994. "Country-specific factors and the pattern of horizontal and vertical intra-industry trade in the UK," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 77-100, March.
  5. J. Finger, 1975. "A new view of the product cycle theory," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 79-99, March.
  6. Davis, Donald R, 1997. "Critical Evidence on Comparative Advantage? North-North Trade in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1051-60, October.
  7. Markusen, James R & Wigle, Randall M, 1990. "Explaining the Volume of North-South Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1206-15, December.
  8. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-11, December.
  9. Hummels, D. & Levinsohn, J., 1993. "Monopolistic Competition and International Trade: Reconsidering the Evidence," Working Papers 339, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra, 1989. "Trade Policies for International Competitiveness," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen89-1, August.
  11. Haveman, J. & Hummels, D., 1997. "What Can We Learn from Bilateral Trade? Gravity and Beyond," Papers 97-002, Purdue University, Krannert School of Management - Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).
  12. 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.
  13. Trefler, Daniel & Zhu, Susan Chun, 2010. "The structure of factor content predictions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 195-207, November.
  14. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 1996. "Does Economic Geography Matter for International Specialization?," NBER Working Papers 5706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Harrigan, James, 1996. "Openness to trade in manufactures in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 23-39, February.
  16. Davis, Donald R. & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1997. "Using International and Japanese Regional Data to Determine When the Factor Abundance Theory of Trade Works," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 421-46, June.
  17. 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.
  18. Oliver LINTON, . "Applied nonparametric methods," Statistic und Oekonometrie 9312, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin.
  19. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  20. Werner Antweiler & Daniel Trefler, 2002. "Increasing Returns and All That: A View from Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 93-119, March.
  21. Härdle, W.K., 1992. "Applied Nonparametric Methods," Discussion Paper 1992-6, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  22. 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.
  23. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1990. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model, the Linder Hypothesis and the Determinants of Bilateral Intra-industry Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1216-29, December.
  24. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 1997. "Technology and Bilateral Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 79, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  25. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "International trade in the presence of product differentiation, economies of scale and monopolistic competition : A Chamberlin-Heckscher-Ohlin approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-340, August.
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:wpa:wuwpit:9608001. 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: (EconWPA)

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.