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Time as a Trade Barrier

  • David L. Hummels
  • Georg Schaur

A large and growing share of world trade travels by air. We model exporters' choice between fast, expensive air cargo and slow, cheap ocean cargo, which depends on the price elasticity of demand and the value that consumers attach to fast delivery. We use US imports data that provide rich variation in the premium paid for air shipping and in time lags for ocean transit to extract consumers' valuation of time. We estimate that each day in transit is equivalent to an advalorem tariff of 0.6 to 2.1 percent. The most time-sensitive trade flows involve parts and components trade.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 2935-59

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:7:p:2935-59
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.7.2935
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  1. 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.
  2. Hummels, David L. & Schaur, Georg, 2010. "Hedging price volatility using fast transport," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 15-25, September.
  3. Amit Khandelwal, 2007. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," 2007 Meeting Papers 244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Carolyn L. Evans & James Harrigan, 2003. "Distance, Time, and Specialization," NBER Working Papers 9729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hallak, Juan Carlos, 2006. "Product quality and the direction of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 238-265, January.
  6. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  7. Anca D. Cristea & David Hummels & Laura Puzzello & Misak G. Avetisyan, 2011. "Trade and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from International Freight Transport," NBER Working Papers 17117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Hummels & Rasmus J?rgensen & Jakob Munch & Chong Xiang, 2014. "The Wage Effects of Offshoring: Evidence from Danish Matched Worker-Firm Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1597-1629, June.
  9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  10. Choi, Yo Chul & Hummels, David & Xiang, Chong, 2009. "Explaining import quality: The role of the income distribution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 265-275, April.
  11. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy & Alexandre Skiba, 2007. "The Trade Reducing Effects of Market Power in International Shipping," NBER Working Papers 12914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Simeon Djankov & Caroline Freund & Cong S. Pham, 2010. "Trading on Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 166-173, February.
  13. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2008. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," NBER Working Papers 13807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
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