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The structure of multi-regional trade flows: hierarchy, feedbacks and spatial linkages


  • Ricardo Gazel

    (Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA)

  • Michael Sonis

    (Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA)

  • Geoffrey J. D. Hewings

    (Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA)


The identification and interpretation of regional economic structure is addressed by reference to a four region, three sector interregional input-output table for the US for 1982. Using the transactions matrix, a succession of self-influence feedback loops are identified, first at the macro-regional level (where all transactions are aggregated into one sector) and, subsequently, with more sectoral detail. The feedback loops are extracted hierarchically using the Matrioshka Hierarchical Feedback Loop Principle. The empirical results reveal the domination of domestic (intra-regional flows) and the dominant role that region 4 (Rest of the US) plays in the bi-lateral trading patterns. However, when sectoral flows are introduced to the intra- and inter-regional flows, the pattern of feedback loops becomes more complex, although the overall pattern matches the structure of the aggregate transactions flows. The analysis provides insights into structure and spatial linkages that cannot be revealed from the more usual data sources (such as the distribution of employment by sector). With tables available for more than one time period, it would be possible to examine structural changes in a more complete fashion.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Gazel & Michael Sonis & Geoffrey J. D. Hewings, 1995. "The structure of multi-regional trade flows: hierarchy, feedbacks and spatial linkages," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 29(4), pages 409-430.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:29:y:1995:i:4:p:409-430
    Note: Received: January 1994 / Accepted: February 1995

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    1. Eduardo A. Haddad & Natalia Q. Cotarelli, Thiago C. Simonato, Vinicius A. Vale & Jaqueline C. Visentin, 2018. "The Grand Tour: Keynes and Goodwin go to Greece," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2018_01, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    2. repec:kap:compec:v:51:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10614-016-9624-x is not listed on IDEAS

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