International Trade Price Indices

CEPII Working Paper 2008-10

44 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2012 Last revised: 11 Jan 2014

See all articles by Guillaume Gaulier

Guillaume Gaulier

Banque de France

Julien Martin

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM)

Isabelle Mejean

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Soledad Zignago

Banque de France

Date Written: June 2008


Export and import price indices are useful instruments in international economics. We document here TradePrices, our database of aggregated and sectoral trade price indices for all countries, computed using unit values given by BACI, the CEPII’s database of international trade at the product-level covering the period 1995-2004. Its rich country dimension allow an international comparison of prices evolutions. We compute “common” Laspeyres and Paasche indices but also “superlative” Fisher and Tornqvist indices, in both chained and fixed-base forms (chained Laspeyres and Paasche are also provided in their geometric form). In a first part, we discuss the characteristics of these different aggregation methods. In particular, we highlight the links between statistical methods and economical assumptions about implicit elasticity of substitution between goods. In a second step we describe the data. An exhaustive sensitivity analysis is done in order to determine the appropriate way to deal with technical difficulties, such as the treatment of measurement errors in bilateral unit values. Finally, this paper provides some stylized facts illustrating the necessity to provide a trade price database allowing international comparison and the usefulness of both aggregated and sectoral trade price indices to study international economics. TradePrices database and SAS programs are freely available online, offering to users the possibility to choose the most accurate index for each particular purpose.

Keywords: International trade, price indices, export unit values

JEL Classification: F12, F15

Suggested Citation

Gaulier, Guillaume and Martin, Julien and Mejean, Isabelle and Zignago, Soledad, International Trade Price Indices (June 2008). CEPII Working Paper 2008-10, Available at SSRN: or

Guillaume Gaulier

Banque de France ( email )


Julien Martin

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) ( email )

PB 8888 Station DownTown
Succursale Centre Ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C3P8

Isabelle Mejean

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris ( email )

1 rue Descartes
Paris, 75005

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

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