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American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 2 (February 2014)


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Tracing Value-Added and Double Counting in Gross Exports

Article Citation

Koopman, Robert, Zhi Wang, and Shang-Jin Wei. 2014. "Tracing Value-Added and Double Counting in Gross Exports." American Economic Review, 104(2): 459-94.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.2.459


This paper proposes an accounting framework that breaks up a country's gross exports into various value-added components by source and additional double-counted terms. Our parsimonious framework bridges a gap between official trade statistics (in gross value terms) and national accounts (in value-added terms), and integrates all previous measures of vertical specialization and value-added trade in the literature into a unified framework. To illustrate the potential of such a method, we present a number of applications including re-computing revealed comparative advantages and the magnifying impact of multi-stage production on trade costs.

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Koopman, Robert (US International Trade Commission)
Wang, Zhi (US International Trade Commission)
Wei, Shang-Jin (Columbia U and CIER, Tsinghua U)

JEL Classifications

E01: Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
E16: General Aggregative Models: Social Accounting Matrix
F14: Empirical Studies of Trade
F23: Multinational Firms; International Business
L14: Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation; Networks

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