CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale

Export and import price indices can be used to analyse terms of trade, inflation or volume/price elasticities in open economies. Price indices also allow to deflate trade values in order to obtain volumes. CEPII aims at providing aggregated and sectoral trade price indices for all countries of the world. These indices are computed using unit values given by BACI, the CEPII database of international trade at the product-level covering the period 1996-2004.

The large country dimension of BACI is particularly useful for international comparisons of prices evolutions. Indeed, national statistical institutions often use different methodologies which prevents any type of cross-country analysis. The United Nations and the IMF provide cross-country comparable Laspeyres price indices releasing export and import unit value indices at the aggregate level. However, Laspeyres indices are not necessarily  appropriate to all studies (for instance, they can over-estimate actual price changes). Moreover, UN and IMF provide price indices for only 44 countries excluding then a lot of developing countries. Finally, there is no disaggregated trade indices allowing an international comparison.
 Methodology: a Short Description
The database contains  “common” Laspeyres and Paasche indices but also “superlative” Fisher and Tornqvist indices, all in their chained as well fixed-base forms. The chained Laspeyres and Paasche are calculated in their geometric form. too Users will then be able to choose the most relevant among an array of indices. An exhaustive sensitivity analysis is performed in order to determine the “best” way to deal with many technical difficulties such as the treatment of measurement errors in bilateral unit values. Sectoral trade price indices will be provided in different product classifications. In addition to the reference paper describing in detail the methodology, the SAS programs is downloadable making the CEPII trade price indices transparent and flexible.


Référence à citer
Gaulier, G., Martin, P., Méjean, I. & Zignago, S. (2008)
International Trade Price Indices
CEPII Working Paper 2008-10

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Charlotte Emlinger

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