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A Note on Trade Costs and Distance

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Author Info

  • Martina Lawless

    (Central Bank)

  • Karl Whelan

    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

One of the most famous and robust findings in international economics is that distance has a strong negative effect on trade. Bernard, Jensen, Redding, and Schott (2007) discuss how this can be decomposed into an effect due to the number of products and an effect due to average exports per product. Using US firm-level data, they show that distance has a strong negative effect on the number of products exported. However, they find that the intensive margin—average sales of individual products—is increasing with distance. We show that this apparently puzzling finding is consistent with models featuring firm heterogeneity in productivity and fixed costs associated with exporting to each market. We also show how evidence of this type can be used to derive new estimates of how distance affects fixed and variable trade costs and how these two costs combine to generate the distance effect on trade.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2007/WP07.16.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200716.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 17 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200716

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References

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  1. Bernard, Andrew & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J & Schott, Peter, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  3. Stephen J Redding & Peter K Schott & Andrew B Bernard, 2007. "Multi-product Firms and Trade Liberalization," 2007 Meeting Papers 44, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," NBER Working Papers 9439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Carsten Eckel & J. Peter Neary, 2010. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 188-217.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Firms," CEP Discussion Papers dp0643, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
  9. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
  10. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
  13. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Lawless, Martina, 2007. "Firm Export Dynamics and the Geography of Trade," MPRA Paper 10008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthieu Crozet & Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2009. "Quality Sorting and Trade: Firm-Level Evidence for French Wine," Working Papers 2009-14, CEPII research center.
  2. Gábor Békés & Balázs Muraközy, 2011. "Temporary trade and heterogeneous firms," CeFiG Working Papers 6, Center for Firms in the Global Economy, revised 13 Feb 2011.
  3. Balazs Murakozy & Gabor Bekes, 2009. "Temporary Trade," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0909, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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