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Hedging price volatility using fast transport

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  • Hummels, David L.
  • Schaur, Georg

Abstract

Purchasing goods from distant locations introduces a significant lag between when a product is shipped and when it arrives. These transit lags are trade barriers for firms facing volatile demand, who must place orders before knowing the resolution of demand uncertainty. We provide a model in which airplanes bring producers and consumers together in time. Fast transport allows firms to respond quickly to favorable demand realizations and to limit the risk of unprofitably large quantities during low demand periods. The model predicts that the likelihood and extent to which firms employ air shipments is increasing in the volatility of demand they face, decreasing in the air premium they must pay, and increasing in the contemporaneous realization of demand. We confirm all three conjectures using detailed US import data. Fast transport thus provides firms with a real option to smooth demand volatility on international markets, and we provide simple calculations of that option value. This enables us to identify how the option value relates to goods characteristics, and to changes in air transport premia associated with technological and policy change including the introduction of jet engines, and liberalization of trade in air services.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 82 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 15-25

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:82:y:2010:i:1:p:15-25

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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Keywords: Hedging Volatility Adjustment costs Air transport Real option;

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References

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  1. Micco, Alejandro & Serebrisky, Tomas, 2006. "Competition regimes and air transport costs: The effects of open skies agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-51, September.
  2. Carolyn L. Evans & James Harrigan, 2005. "Distance, Time, and Specialization: Lean Retailing in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 292-313, March.
  3. Cameron, A. Colin & Gelbach, Jonah B. & Miller, Douglas L., 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249.
  4. W. J. Baumol & H. D. Vinod, 1970. "An Inventory Theoretic Model of Freight Transport Demand," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(7), pages 413-421, March.
  5. David Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2012. "Time as a Trade Barrier," NBER Working Papers 17758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Aizenman, Joshua, 2004. "Endogenous pricing to market and financing costs," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 691-712, May.
  7. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
  8. Harrigan, James & Venables, Anthony J., 2006. "Timeliness and agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 300-316, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time as a Trade Barrier," GTAP Working Papers 1152, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  2. Richard Pomfret & Patricia Sourdin, 2010. "Trade Facilitation And The Measurement Of Trade Costs," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(01), pages 145-163.
  3. Kazunobu Hayakawa & Kiyoyasu Tanaka & Yasushi Ueki, 2013. "Transport Modal Choice by Multinational Firms: Firm-level Evidence from Southeast Asia," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 609-623, December.
  4. Benjamin Bridgman, 2013. "Market entry and trade weighted import costs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(3), pages 982-1013, August.
  5. Steinwender, Claudia, 2013. "Information Frictions and the Law of One Price: “When the States and the Kingdom became United”," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1314, CEPREMAP.
  6. Richard Pomfret & Patricia Sourdin, 2008. "Why Do Trade Costs Vary?," School of Economics Working Papers 2008-08, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  7. Bianka Dettmer & Andreas Freytag & Peter Draper, 2013. "Check-in, departure and arrival times: Air cargo in Southern Africa?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  8. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
  9. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan T. Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2010. "The Role of Financial Factors in the Trade Collapse: A Skeptic's View," Working Papers 616, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Fabling, Richard & Grimes, Arthur & Sanderson, Lynda, 2013. "Any port in a storm: Impacts of new port infrastructure on exporter behaviour," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 33-47.
  11. Békès, G. & Fontagné, L. & Murakozy, B. & Vicard, V., 2014. "Shipment frequency of exporters and demand uncertainty," Working papers 479, Banque de France.
  12. Dalton, John, 2013. "A Theory of Just-in-Time and the Growth in Manufacturing Trade," MPRA Paper 48223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Blyde, Juan & Molina, Danielken, 2013. "Logistics Infrastructure and the International Location of Fragmented Production," MPRA Paper 45749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Yang-Ming Chang & Philip Gayle, 2009. "Exports versus FDI: do firms use FDI as a mechanism to smooth demand volatility?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 447-467, October.

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