Cecile Gaubert | Clausen Center

Cecile Gaubert

Assistant Professor

Department of Economics

Cecile Gaubert is assistant professor in the Economics Department at the University of California Berkeley. Her primary fields of research are international trade and economic geography.  In her dissertation she examined the effect of policies on the location of firms across cities. Cecile received her PhD from the Princeton University.

Summary of recent Papers:

Tourism and Economic Development: Evidence from Mexico's Coastline

Date: June 2016

Coauthors: Benjamin Faber

Citation: NBER Working Papers, No. 22300

Tourism is one of the most visible and fastest growing facets of globalization in developing countries. This paper combines a rich collection of Mexican microdata with a quantitative spatial equilibrium model and a new empirical strategy to learn about the long-run economic consequences of tourism. We begin by estimating a number of reduced-form effects on local economic outcomes in today's cross-section of Mexican municipalities. To base these estimates on plausibly exogenous variation in long-term tourism exposure, we exploit geological and oceanographic variation in beach quality along the Mexican coastline to construct instrumental variables. To guide the estimation of the aggregate implications of tourism, we then write down a spatial equilibrium model of trade in goods and tourism services, and use the reduced-form moments to inform its calibration for counterfactual analysis. We find that tourism causes large and significant local economic gains relative to less touristic regions, and that these gains are in part driven by significant positive spillovers on manufacturing production. In the aggregate, however, we find that these local spillovers are largely offset by reductions in agglomeration economies among less touristic regions, so that the national gains from tourism are mainly driven by a classical market integration effect.


Granular Comparative Advantage

Date: July 2016

Coauthors: Oleg Itskhoki

Firms play a pivotal role in international trade, shaping the comparative advantage of countries. We propose a ‘granular’ multi-sector model of trade, which combines fundamental comparative advantage across sectors with granular comparative advantage due to outstanding productivity of individual firms.  We develop a SMM-based estimation procedure, which takes full account of the general equilibrium of the model, and jointly estimate the fundamental and the granular forces using French micro-level data with information on firm domestic and export sales across manufacturing industries. The estimated granular model captures the salient features of micro-level heterogeneity across firms and industries, without relying on variation in model parameters across sectors. The estimated model implies that thirty percent of trade flows is explained by granular forces, and that sectors with the highest export shares are more likely to be of granular origin than sectors with average export shares. Extending the model to allow for firm-level productivity dynamics explains the majority of the change in the country’s comparative advantage over time. We further show that empirically measurable proxies of granularity have a substantial predictive ability for trade flows in the estimated model, even after controlling for fundamental comparative advantage of the sectors. Lastly, we show that the welfare gains from liberalizing a sector are shaped by the extent to which this sector is granular.

Clausen-Supported Research