The Elasticity of Trade: Estimates and Evidence
71 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 2011
Quantitative results from a large class of structural gravity models of international trade depend critically on the elasticity of trade with respect to trade frictions. We develop a new simulated method of moments estimator to estimate this elasticity from disaggregate price and trade-flow data and we use it within Eaton and Kortum's (2002) Ricardian model. We apply our estimator to disaggregate price and trade-flow data for 123 countries in the year 2004. Our method yields a trade elasticity of roughly four, nearly fifty percent lower than Eaton and Kortum's (2002) approach. This difference doubles the welfare gains from international trade.
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