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Distance, Time, and Specialization: Lean Retailing in General Equilibrium

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  • Carolyn L. Evans
  • James Harrigan

Abstract

Transport time increases with distance traveled, and time is valuable. We show the implications of these facts for global specialization and trade: products where timely delivery is important will be produced near the source of final demand, where wages will be higher as a result. In the model, timely delivery is important because it allows retailers to respond to final demand fluctuations without holding costly inventories, and timely delivery is possible only from nearby locations. Using a unique dataset that allows us to measure the retail demand for timely delivery, we show that the sources of U.S. apparel imports have shifted in the way predicted by the model, with products for which timeliness matters increasingly imported from nearby countries.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:1:p:292-313
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828053828590
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David L. Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2013. "Time as a Trade Barrier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2935-2959, December.
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    5. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932.
    6. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time As A Trade Barrier," Working papers 28701, Purdue University, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Global Trade Analysis Project.
    7. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2008. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 310-320, July.
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