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Have developed countries escaped the curse of distance?

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  • Hervé Boulhol
  • Alain de Serres

Abstract

There is widespread evidence that a better access to markets contributes to raising income levels. However, no quantification of the impact of distance to markets has been made on the basis of a sample restricted to advanced — and therefore more homogeneous — countries. This paper applies the framework developed by Redding and Venables (2004) on a panel data covering 21 OECD countries over 1970-2004, and shows that, relative to the average OECD country, the cost of remoteness for countries such as Australia and New Zealand could be as high as 10% of GDP. Conversely, the benefit for centrally-located countries like Belgium and the Netherlands could be around 6-7%. Second, the paper explains why the key estimated parameter in the Redding-Venables model is biased upwards in cross-section samples that mix both developing and developed countries, because of the inability to adequately control for heterogeneity in technology levels across countries. The paper also provides a detailed discussion of the links between the ?death-of-distance? hypothesis, the evolution of transport costs and that of the elasticity of trade to distance. Les pays développés ont-ils échappé à la malédiction de la distance ? De nombreuses études empiriques ont montré qu‘un meilleur accès aux marchés contribue à augmenter les revenus. Cependant, aucune quantification de l‘impact de la distance aux marchés n‘a été effectuée à partir d‘un échantillon homogène limité aux pays développés. Ce papier applique le cadre développé par Redding and Venables (2004) à des données de panel couvrant 21 pays de l‘OCDE entre 1970 et 2004, et montre que, relativement à la moyenne des pays de l‘OCDE, le coût de l‘éloignement géographique pour des pays comme l‘Australie et la Nouvelle Zélande s‘élève à environ 10% de PIB. Réciproquement, le bénéfice que tirent les pays ayant une position centrale comme la Belgique et les Pays-Bas serait de l‘ordre de 6-7%. Deuxièmement, cette étude explique pourquoi le paramètre-clé d
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Suggested Citation

  • Hervé Boulhol & Alain de Serres, 2010. "Have developed countries escaped the curse of distance?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 113-139, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:10:y:2010:i:1:p:113-139
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bergeaud, A. & Cette, G. & Lecat, R., 2015. "Productivity trends from 1890 to 2012 in advanced countries," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 07, June..
    2. Borchert, Ingo & Yotov, Yoto V., 2017. "Distance, globalization, and international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 32-38.
    3. Rafal Kierzenkowski, 2009. "The Challenge of Restoring French Competitiveness," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 720, OECD Publishing.
    4. Shekhar Aiyar & Romain A Duval & Damien Puy & Yiqun Wu & Longmei Zhang, 2013. "Growth Slowdowns and the Middle-Income Trap," IMF Working Papers 13/71, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Burhan Can Karahasan, 2014. "The Spatial Distribution Of New Firms:Can Peripheral Areas Escape From The Curse Of Remoteness?," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 1-28, DECEMBER.
    6. Piermartini, Roberta & Yotov, Yoto, 2016. "Estimating Trade Policy Effects with Structural Gravity," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2016-10, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    7. Yotov, Yoto V., 2012. "A simple solution to the distance puzzle in international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 794-798.
    8. Jordan Schwartz & José Luis Guasch & Gordon Wilmsmeier, 2009. "Logistics, Transport and Food Prices in LAC: Policy Guidance for Improving Efficiency and Reducing Costs," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9324, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Baier, Scott & Kerr, Amanda & Yotov, Yoto, 2017. "Gravity, Distance, and International Trade," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2017-5, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    10. Fernando Bruna, 2015. "Why do empirical tests tend to accept the NEG? An alternative approach to the 'wage equation' in European regions," Working Papers 15-11, Asociación Española de Economía y Finanzas Internacionales.
    11. Samuel Standaert & Stijn Ronsse & Benjamin Vandermarliere, 2014. "Historical trade integration: Globalization and the distance puzzle in the long 20th century," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 14/897, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    12. Jordan Schwartz & José Luis Guasch & Gordon Wilmsmeier, 2009. "Logistics, Transport and Food Prices in LAC: Policy Guidance for Improving Efficiency and Reducing Costs," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2541, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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