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Are distance effects really a puzzle?


  • Lin, Faqin


Given the distance proxies for trade costs, the onset of globalization implies that geographical distance would matter less for trade. However, year-on-year regressions of a log-linearized gravity model estimated by the ordinary least squares (OLS) method usually suggest that the negative impact of distance on trade is rising since the 1950s during the late 20th century. These seemingly counter-intuitive results may occur due to the omission of the extensive margin as well as the neglect of the Jensen's inequality. This paper investigates these two potential solutions but that only the second seems to work. After considering Jensen's inequality, the distance effects declined over the period 1950–1999. In addition, this paper proposes a simple theoretical model to identify trade costs. The empirical results also show a declining trend of trade costs over the same time period.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Faqin, 2013. "Are distance effects really a puzzle?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 684-689.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:684-689 DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2013.01.011

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    Cited by:

    1. Chiarucci, Riccardo & Ruzzenenti, Franco & Loffredo, Maria I., 2014. "Detecting spatial homogeneity in the World Trade Web with Detrended Fluctuation Analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 401(C), pages 1-7.
    2. Chakrabarti, Anindya S. & Sengupta, Aparna, 2017. "Productivity differences and inter-state migration in the U.S.: A multilateral gravity approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 156-168.
    3. Juyoung Cheong & Do Won Kwak & Kam Ki Tang, 2016. "The distance effects on the intensive and extensive margins of trade over time," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 253-278, March.
    4. Yang, Yu & Poon, Jessie P.H. & Liu, Yi & Bagchi-Sen, Sharmistha, 2015. "Small and flat worlds: A complex network analysis of international trade in crude oil," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 93(P1), pages 534-543.

    More about this item


    Distance effect; Year-on-year regression; Trade costs;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General


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