Discussion paper

DP11855 The International Elasticity Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think

We estimate three international price elasticities using exporters data: the elasticity of firm exports to export price, tariff and real exchange rate shocks. In standard trade and international macroeconomics models these three elasticities should be equal. We find that this is far from being the case. We use French firm level electricity costs to instrument for export prices and provide a first estimate of the elasticity of firm-level exports to export prices. The elasticity of exports is highest, around 5, for export prices followed by tariffs, around 2, and is lowest for the real exchange rate, around 0.6. The large discrepancy between these elasticities makes us conclude that the international elasticity puzzle is actually worse than previously thought. Moreover, we show that because exporters absorb part of tariffs and exchange rate movements, estimates of export elasticities that do not take into account export prices are biased.


Martin, P, L Fontagné and G Orefice (2017), ‘DP11855 The International Elasticity Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11855. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11855