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GTAP Resource #1089

"Alfred Marshall Project: An Open-Source Elasticity Database for Applied GGE work"
by van Nieuwkoop, Renger and Melanie Bacou

CGE modelers are often faced with a difficult problem when trying to decide on elasticity values. Which value should be used? How sensitive are the results to changes in elasticities? If one does a sensitivity analysis what upper and lower bounds are acceptable? Often, elasticities are derived from other CGE models, sometimes from econometric studies or, if there are no reliable estimates, one simply uses a “guesstimate”. Although there is a vast literature on econometric estimates of elasticities, most CGE modelers lack the time or the econometric and theoretical knowledge to thoroughly screen this literature. Even gathering estimates used by other CGE experts can prove very time consuming.
The Alfred Marshall Project aims at providing the CGE community with a user-friendly Web-enabled database containing a variety of information on all kinds of elasticities generally used in CGE modelling. The main characteristics of the Alfred Marshall Project are:
· Depth of information: The database will not only contain values of individual or sets of elasticities, but also information related to the original sources (authors, references, etc.) and, if available, on the distribution, estimation methods, as well as pointers to related studies (both empirical and theoretical).
· A wide range of elasticities: the project will contain information on not only the typical CGE elasticities, such as substitution and transformation elasticities, but also for example, price elasticities which may be used to help calibrate CGE models.
· Open-source: the project will be opened for anyone who is either looking for information on elasticities, or wants to contribute information.
· Simplicity: Users can either search the database or provide data using a user-friendly interface, export data to text, spreadsheets or other files.
The development of the project may be broken down into three phases:
1. Alpha version: Gathering data, developing an alpha-Version of the database, testing
2. Web-enabled version: Adding web-based functionality, publishing of the Web-Version, announce-ment to the CGE-community with invitation to collaborate.
3. Improvement of the Web-enabled version.

As soon as the project is accessible, its success will depend, as is the case with the GTAP Data Base, on the willingness of the CGE community to provide additional data. In order to give the database a critical mass quickly enough so as to encourage economists to make use of it and contribute their own estimates, it would be great, if people could readily contribute data during the first phase of the project (Alpha version).
In a later stage, the restriction of elasticities only for CGE modelling could be relaxed in two ways: In order to get the full support of the econometricians, the restriction of gathering data on elasticities only for CGE-work could be abandoned. Another relaxation would be to add other CGE parameters (like assumptions on interest rates, saving rates, etc.) .
The working group consists of four persons: Melanie Bacou from GTAP and Renger van Nieuwkoop from Ecoplan will develop the alpha and the Web-Version. Advisors are Glenn Harrison from the University of South Carolina and Randy Wigle from the Wilfrid Laurier Uni-versity, Waterloo.

Resource Details (Export Citation) GTAP Keywords
Category: 2002 Conference Paper
Status: Published
By/In: Presented at the 5th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, Taipei, Taiwan
Date: 2002
Created: van Nieuwkoop, R. (5/6/2002)
Updated: Bacou, M. (10/27/2004)
Visits: 3,953
- Calibration and parameter estimation

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