Peter R Herman

About: I am a Lead International Economist in the Research Division of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. My research interests are international trade, gravity modeling, non-tariff measures, and network models.  I earned my B.A. from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT, and my M.A. and Ph.D. at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

CV:  PDF (Sept. 2021)

Google Scholar: 


Contact Information: 

500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436


Recent work:

Abstract: This paper assess the impact of internet connectivity and digital trade policies on trade and welfare. Using new measures of internet connectivity, we find a significant positive relationship between internet use and bandwidth capacity, and trade. The positive relationship between internet use and trade is present for international and domestic trade, goods and services, high- and low-income exporters, and at the intensive and extensive margin. We also find that digital trade facilitation provisions in trade agreements have significantly increased trade for high-income exporters, especially for services trade. Informed by these findings, we use a general equilibrium model of trade to assess the trade and welfare impacts of increased internet connectivity and digital trade policies for developing countries. Increasing internet connectivity can have large positive welfare impacts on poorly connected countries, but these results also highlight the dangers of developing countries falling behind if they are not able to improve internet infrastructure. Introducing digital trade provisions into an existing trade agreement between high- and low-income countries can facilitate growth in trade in services for both members. 

"gegravity: General Equilibrium Gravity Modeling in Python" (2021), USITC Office of Economics Working Paper 2021-04-B.

Abstract: The gegravity Python package is a collection of tools for analyzing general equilibrium, structural gravity models of international trade. It provides a framework for estimating structural gravity models, simulating counterfactual trade experiments, and conducting Monte Carlo simulations to derive measures of statistical precision for model estimates. The package is based on prominent models used in the literature and aims to make structural gravity modeling more readily accessible to researchers and policy analysts.

"One Nation, One Language? Domestic Language Diversity, Trade and Welfare" (2021), USITC Office of Economics Working Paper 2021-01-B, with Tamara Gurevich, Farid Toubal, and Yoto Yotov.

Abstract: Using new data on linguistic diversity across and within countries, we examine novel channels though which language affects trade patterns and economic welfare. We find that linguistic similarity within a country accounts for about 10 percent of estimated `home bias', demonstrating the importance of shared languages for domestic integration. To highlight the general equilibrium implications of domestic language proximity, we simulate the repeal of Quebec's Bill 101, which made French an official language in Canada and established fundamental language rights for French-speakers. The analysis demonstrates that domestic language diversity has significant implications for Canada's welfare but also sizable economic consequences that stretch far beyond its borders.