Trade Costs

101 Pages Posted: 24 May 2004 Last revised: 22 Aug 2010

See all articles by James E. Anderson

James E. Anderson

Boston College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eric van Wincoop

University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2004

Abstract

This paper surveys the measurement of trade costs --- what we know, and what we don't know but may usefully attempt to find out. Partial and incomplete data on direct measures of costs go together with inference on implicit costs from trade flows and prices. Total trade costs in rich countries are large. The ad valorem tax equivalent is about 170% when pushing the data very hard. Poor countries face even higher trade costs. There is a lot of variation across countries and across goods within countries, much of which makes economic sense. Theory looms large in our survey, providing interpretation and perspective on the one hand and suggesting improvements for the future on the other hand. Some new results are presented to apply and interpret gravity theory properly and to handle aggregation appropriately.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, James E. and van Wincoop, Eric, Trade Costs (May 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10480, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=541705

James E. Anderson (Contact Author)

Boston College - Department of Economics ( email )

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Eric Van Wincoop

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

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