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Explaining Regional Export Performance in a Developing Country: The Role of Geography and Relative Factor Endowments


  • Wim Naude
  • Thomas Gries


Naude W. and Gries T. Explaining regional export performance in a developing country: the role of geography and relative factor endowments, Regional Studies. This paper investigates the role of geography in explaining trade. It estimates and contrasts two models, a so-called 'Skills-to-Land Heckscher-Ohlin Model' following the work of Wood and Berge (1997) and a 'Geography Heckscher-Ohlin-Von Thunen model' following that of Redding and Venables (2004). Using panel data across 354 South African magisterial districts over the period 1996 to 2000, it was found that only 22 magisterial districts in South Africa were responsible for 85% of the country's manufacturing exports. While the geography model (with distance, market effects, fixed costs and institutions) offers an overall better explanation for the manufactured export performance of the country's magisterial districts, evidence was also found to support the Skills-to-Land Heckscher-Ohlin model. The empirical evidence suggests that regions that are larger in terms of economic size, with good foreign market access and know-how of foreign markets, with competitive transport costs, good local institutions and higher proportions of skilled workers, will be more successful in exporting manufactured goods. [image omitted] Naude W. et Gries T. Expliquer les performances regionales a l'exportation dans un pays en developpement: le role de la geographie et la dotation relative en facteurs, Regional Studies. Dans cet article, nous analysons le role de la geographie pour expliquer les echanges. Nous evaluons et nous comparons deux modeles, le modele Heckscher-Ohlin dit d'autarcie et le modele geographique Heckscher-Ohlin-Von Thunen. Nous appuyant sur des donnees portant sur 354 districts judiciaires d'Afrique du Sud pour la periode 1996-2000, nous constatons que seulement 22 de ces districts sont responsables de 85% des exportations manufacturieres du pays. Alors que le modele geographique (avec les distances, les effets du marche, les couts fixes et les institutions) offre une meilleure explication globale des performances des exportations de produits manufactures des districts judiciaires du pays; nous apportons egalement la preuve en faveur du modele 'autarcie' Heckscher-Ohlin. L'evidence empirique suggere que des regions qui sont plus importantes en termes de taille economique, avec un bon acces aux marches etrangers et la connaissance de ces derniers, avec des couts de transport competitifs, de bonnes institutions locales et une plus forte proportion de main-d'œuvre qualifiee, reussiront mieux en matiere d'exportation de biens manufactures. Geographie economique Exportations Developpement economique spatial Econometrie des donnees d'echantillons Afrique Naude W. und Gries T. Erlauterung von regionaler Exportleistung in einem Entwicklungsland: die Rolle von Geografie und relativen Faktorgegebenheiten, Regional Studies. In diesem Beitrag untersuchen wir die Rolle der Geografie zur Erklarung von Handel. Wir schatzen und kontrastieren zwei Modelle: ein sogenanntes 'Skills-to-Land'-Heckscher-Ohlin-Modell und ein geografisches Heckscher-Ohlin-Von-Thunen-Modell. Anhand der Paneldaten von 354 sudafrikanischen Verwaltungsbezirken im Zeitraum von 1996 bis 2000 stellen wir fest, dass nur 22 Verwaltungsbezirke in Sudafrika fur 85% der Produktionsexporte des Landes verantwortlich sind. Obwohl das Geografiemodell (mit Entfernung, Markteffekten, Festkosten und Institutionen) insgesamt eine bessere Erklarung fur die Produktionsexportleistung der Verwaltungsbezirke des Landes bietet, finden wir auch Belege zur Unterstutzung des 'Skills-to-Land'-Heckscher-Ohlin-Modells. Die empirischen Belege lassen darauf schliessen, dass Regionen mehr Erfolg beim Export von Produktionsgutern haben, wenn sie in wirtschaftlicher Hinsicht grosser ausfallen, uber einen guten Zugang zu Auslandsmarkten und das entsprechende Know-how hierfur verfugen, konkurrenzfahige Transportkosten haben, gute lokale Institutionen aufweisen und uber einen hoheren Anteil an Facharbeitern verfugen. Wirtschaftsgeografie Exporte Raumliche Wirtschaftsentwicklung Paneldaten-Okonometrie Afrika Naude W. y Gries T. Explicando el desempeno de las exportaciones regionales en un pais en desarrollo: el papel de la geografia y dotaciones de factores relativos, Regional Studies. En este articulo investigamos el rol de la geografia a traves del comercio. Calculamos y contrastamos dos modelos: el llamado modelo Skills-to-Land Heckscher-Ohlin y el modelo de geografia Heckscher Ohlin Von Thunen. Con ayuda de datos de panel en 354 distritos magisteriales de Sudafrica en un periodo de 1996 a 2000, observamos que solo 22 distritos magisteriales en Sudafrica son responsables del 85% de las exportaciones manufactureras del pais. Mientras que el modelo geografico (con efectos de distancia, mercado, costes fijos e instituciones) ofrece una mejor explicacion general para el desempeno de exportacion manufacturera de los distritos magisteriales del pais, tambien observamos evidencias que respaldan el modelo Skills-to-Land Heckscher-Ohlin. La evidencia empirica indica que las regiones tendran mas exito a la hora de exportar mercancias manufacturadas si son mayores en terminos de tamano economico, tienen buen acceso a mercados extranjeros y conocimientos de tales mercados y pueden ofrecer costes competitivos de transporte, buenas instituciones locales y porcentajes mas altos de trabajadores cualificados. Geografia economica Exportaciones Desarrollo economico espacial Factores econometricos de datos del panel Africa

Suggested Citation

  • Wim Naude & Thomas Gries, 2009. "Explaining Regional Export Performance in a Developing Country: The Role of Geography and Relative Factor Endowments," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(7), pages 967-979.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:43:y:2009:i:7:p:967-979
    DOI: 10.1080/00343400801932300

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    Cited by:

    1. Enrique López-Bazo & Elisabet Motellón, 2013. "“Firm exports, innovation, … and regions”," AQR Working Papers 201305, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised May 2013.
    2. Paweł Gajewski & Grzegorz Tchorek, 2017. "What drives export performance of firms in Eastern and Western Poland?," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(12), pages 2250-2271, December.
    3. Naudé, Wim & Matthee, Marianne, 2012. "Do Export Costs Matter in Determining Whether, When, and How Much African Firms Export?," Working Papers 38, JICA Research Institute.


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