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Tear down this wall: on the persistence of borders in trade

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  • Volker Nitsch
  • Nikolaus Wolf

Abstract

Why do borders still matter for economic activity? The reunification of Germany in 1990 provides a unique natural experiment for examining the effect of political borders on trade. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rapid formation of a political and economic union, strong and strictly enforced administrative barriers to trade between East Germany and West Germany were eliminated completely within a very short period of time. Remarkable persistence in intra-German trade patterns along the former East-West border suggests that border effects are neither statistical artefacts nor driven by administrative barriers to trade, but arise from economic fundamentals.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 46 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 154-179

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:46:y:2013:i:1:p:154-179

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References

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  1. Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The log of gravity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3744, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Max-Stephan Schulze & Nikolaus Wolf, 2009. "On the origins of border effects: insights from the Habsburg Empire," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 117-136, January.
  3. Stephen Redding & Daniel M. Sturm, 2005. "The Costs of Remoteness: Evidence from German Division and Reunification," CEP Discussion Papers dp0688, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
  5. Wolf, Nikolaus, 2009. "Was Germany Ever United? Evidence from Intra- and International Trade, 1885–1933," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 846-881, September.
  6. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
  7. Chen, Natalie, 2002. "Intra-national versus International Trade in the European Union: Why do National Borders Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  9. Hans Christian Heinemeyer, 2007. "The treatment effect of borders on trade. The great war and the disintegration of Central Europe," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 1(3), pages 177-210, October.
  10. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
  12. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Volker Nitsch, 2000. "National borders and international trade: evidence from the European Union," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1091-1105, November.
  14. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nikolaus Wolf, 2008. "Was Germany Ever United? Evidence from Intra- and International Trade 1885-1933," CEP Discussion Papers dp0870, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Heinemeyer, Hans Christian & Schulze, Max Stephan & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2008. "Endogenous Borders? Exploring a Natural Experiment on Border Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 6909, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gabriel Felbermayr & Jasmin Gröschl, 2011. "Within US Trade and the Long Shadow of the American Secession," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 117, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  4. Volker Nitsch & Nikolaus Wolf, 2010. "Zur Dauerhaftigkeit von Handelsbarrieren : Evidenz von der deutsch-deutschen Wiedervereinigung," ifo Dresden berichtet, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(05), pages 28-30, October.
  5. Lameli, Alfred & Nitsch, Volker & Suedekum, Jens & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2013. "Same Same But Different: Dialects and Trade," IZA Discussion Papers 7397, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Carlos Llano‐Verduras & Asier Minondo & Francisco Requena‐Silvente, 2011. "Is the Border Effect an Artefact of Geographical Aggregation?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(10), pages 1771-1787, October.
  7. Hans-Christian Heinemeyer & Max-Stephan Schulze & Nikolaus Wolf, 2008. "Endogenous Borders? The Effects of New Borders on Trade in Central Europe 1885-1933," CESifo Working Paper Series 2246, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Agnosteva, Delina E. & Anderson, James E. & Yotov, Yoto, 2014. "Intra‐national Trade Costs: Measurement and Aggregation," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2014-2, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  9. Finn Marten Körner & Hans-Michael Trautwein, 2013. "Sovereign Credit Ratings and the Transnationalization of Finance - Evidence from a Gravity Model of Portfolio Investment," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 20 / 2013, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Feb 2014.

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