July 2005

Estimating Elasticities for U.S. Trade in Services

Jaime Marquez


Explanations of the persistent deficit in U.S. net exports of goods rest on macroeconomic developments and an asymmetry in elasticities: the income elasticity for imports being larger than the income elasticity for exports. Such macroeconomic developments are not applicable to the equally persistent surplus in U.S. net exports of services unless the income elasticities for services exhibit the reversed asymmetry. There have been surprisingly few attempts to demonstrate the existence of this reversed asymmetry, a task that I undertake here. Specifically, I estimate income and price elasticities for U.S. trade in services and evaluate the importance of simultaneity and aggregation biases. The analysis reveals two findings. First, the income elasticity for U.S. exports of services is significantly greater than the income elasticity for U.S. imports of services. Second, disaggregation is the most important aspect of econometric design in this area.

Full paper (screen reader version)

Keywords: U.S. service trade, external imbalances, income elasticity, price elasticity, general-to-specific, automated specification

PDF: Full Paper

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

Back to Top
Last Update: November 23, 2020