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Trade Coefficients and the Role of Elasticity in a Spatial CGE Model Based on the Armington Assumption

Discussion Papers


by ANDO Asao, MENG Bo and Chao QU
July 2009


The Armington Assumption in the context of multi-regional CGE models is commonly interpreted as follows: Same commodities with different origins are imperfect substitutes for each other. In this paper, a static spatial CGE model that is compatible with this assumption and explicitly considers the transport sector and regional price differentials is formulated. Trade coefficients, which are derived endogenously from the optimization behaviors of firms and households, are shown to take the form of a potential function. To investigate how the elasticity of substitutions affects equilibrium solutions, a simpler version of the model that incorporates three regions and two sectors (besides the transport sector) is introduced. Results indicate: (1) if commodities produced in different regions are perfect substitutes, regional economies will be either autarkic or completely symmetric and (2) if they are imperfect substitutes, the impact of elasticity on the price equilibrium system as well as trade coefficients will be nonlinear and sometimes very sensitive.

Keywords: Armington Assumption, spatial CGE, elasticity of substitution, trade coefficient
JEL classification: C68, R13, R15

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