The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Rikhil Bhavnani, Natalia Tamirisa, Arvind Subramanian, and David Coe
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
The failure of declining trade-related costs to be reflected in estimates of the standard gravity model of bilateral trade might be called the "missing globalization puzzle." This puzzle is most apparent in the estimated distance coefficients found in the literature, which show no evidence of declining in absolute value over time. In contrast, we find evidence of globalization, on both cross-section and panel data, reflected in a variety of measures of geography. Our estimation procedure is consistent with recent theoretical developments that emphasize the importance of relative costs for determining bilateral trade patterns. But the main reason our findings differ from previous studies is our nonlinear specification, which has a number of advantages over the standard log-linear specification.