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Why do trade costs vary?

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  • Richard Pomfret

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  • Patricia Sourdin

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Abstract

Trade theorists and policymakers have until recently ignored trade costs, but as tariffs have fallen it is apparent that trade costs are a significant obstacle to trade and they are not simply determined by geography or commodity characteristics. We analyse country-by-country variations in trade costs using disaggregated Australian import data. In Australia average trade costs are about 5% of the value of imports, compared to an average tariff of under 4%. Controlling for distance from Australia and the bulkiness of commodities, the paper examines other determinants of international trade costs in terms of exporting country characteristics. Country-specific characteristics which influence the size of trade costs may provide a direct link between institutions and economic growth.
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Suggested Citation

  • Richard Pomfret & Patricia Sourdin, 2010. "Why do trade costs vary?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(4), pages 709-730, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:146:y:2010:i:4:p:709-730
    DOI: 10.1007/s10290-010-0072-8
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rahul Anand & Kalpana Kochhar & Saurabh Mishra, 2015. "Make in India; Which Exports Can Drive the Next Wave of Growth?," IMF Working Papers 15/119, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Dettmer, Bianka & Freytag, Andreas & Draper, Peter, 2014. "Air Cargo beyond Trade Barriers in Africa," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 29, pages 95-138.
    3. Bianka Dettmer & Andreas Freytag & Peter Draper, 2013. "Check-in, departure and arrival times: Air cargo in Southern Africa?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Lugovskyy, Oleksandr & Skiba, Alexandre, 2014. "Effect of distance on trade under slope heterogeneity and cross-correlated effects," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-30, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2011. "In Search of Real Rigidities," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 261-309 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050, August.
    7. Julia Spies & Joern Kleinert, 2011. "Transport Costs in International Trade," ERSA conference papers ersa11p625, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Logan Lewis, 2013. "Menu Costs, Trade Flows, and Exchange Rate Volatility," 2013 Meeting Papers 313, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
    10. Mary Amiti & Oleg Itskhoki & Jozef Konings, 2014. "Importers, Exporters, and Exchange Rate Disconnect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 1942-1978, July.
    11. Pomfret, Richard & Sourdin, Patricia, 2009. "Have Asian trade agreements reduced trade costs?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 255-268, May.
    12. Salvador Gil-Pareja & Rafael Llorca-Rivero & José Antonio Martínez-Serrano, 2017. "Corruption and International Trade: A Comprehensive Analysis with Gravity," Working Papers 1705, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    13. Richard Pomfret & Richard Pomfret, 2014. "Expanding the Division of Labour: Trade Costs and Supply Chains in the Global Economy," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 54(3), pages 220-241, November.
    14. Murat Genç & David Law, 2014. "A Gravity Model of Barriers to Trade in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/05, New Zealand Treasury.
    15. Gee Hee Hong & Nicholas Li, 2013. "Market Structure and Cost Pass-Through in Retail," Staff Working Papers 13-5, Bank of Canada.
    16. Yuko Imura, 2013. "Endogenous Trade Participation with Incomplete Exchange Rate Pass-Through," Staff Working Papers 13-30, Bank of Canada.
    17. repec:wsi:jicepx:v:01:y:2010:i:01:n:s179399331000010x is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Joern Kleinert & Julia Spies, 2011. "Endogenous Transport Costs in International Trade," IAW Discussion Papers 74, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    19. Nicholas Li & Gee Hee Hong, 2013. "Market Structure and Cost Pass-Through in Retail," Working Papers tecipa-470, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade costs; Trade facilitation; F10; F13; O24;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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