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Distance, production, and trade

  • Don P. Clark

This paper investigates the relationship between geographical distance and both the extent of trade and foreign production. Industries engaged in exporting and co-production activities across national boundaries are identified through their use of the Offshore Assembly Provisions in the US tariff code. Findings counter conventional wisdom. Trade and foreign production activities are found to drop off rapidly over the first third of the distance scale, rise over the middle portion, reach a peak in the final third, and decline thereafter. This pattern suggests frictions associated with distance can be offset by government policies and other country attributes. Management control, information and communications costs, and the ability to implement just-in-time delivery strategies may not be as distance sensitive as previously thought. Theorists should re-evaluate the role of distance in trade models and refrain from using distance as a proxy for transport costs.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development.

Volume (Year): 16 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 359-371

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:16:y:2007:i:3:p:359-371
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