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SUBSTITUTION ELASTICITIES IN A CONSTANT ELASTICITY OF SUBSTITUTION FRAMEWORK - EMPIRICAL ESTIMATES USING NONLINEAR LEAST SQUARES

Simon Koesler and Michael Schymura

Economic Systems Research, 2015, vol. 27, issue 1, 101-121

Abstract: Elasticities are key parameters for any economic analysis. Using the World-Input-Output Database, we estimate substitution elasticities for a three-level nested constant elasticity of substitution KLEM production structure using up to date nonlinear least squares estimation procedures. This allows us for the first time to use one coherent data set for the estimation process. Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to derive elasticities from the same data which researchers can use to calibrate their models. On the basis of our estimations, we demonstrate that the practice of using Cobb-Douglas or Leontief production functions in economic models must be rejected for the majority of sectors. We provide a comprehensive set of estimated substitution elasticities covering a wide range of sectors. Our results suggest that no substantial change in input substitutability takes place during the time period we consider. Moreover, there is no substantial variation in substitution elasticities across regions.

Date: 2015
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