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Endogenous Borders? The Effects of New Borders on Trade in Central Europe 1885-1933

Author

Listed:
  • Hans-Christian Heinemeyer
  • Max-Stephan Schulze
  • Nikolaus Wolf

Abstract

A large literature on “border effects” in the wake of McCallum (1995) documents the massive impact of borders on trade. However, all these studies suffer from an identification problem. “Border effects” are usually identified from cross-sectional variation alone. We do not know how trade would change in response to a change in borders – the “treatment effect” of borders on trade – simply because trade flows across “future” borders are typically not documented. Nor can we rule out that there is “reverse causation”: that borders run along pre-existing trade patterns rather than shape trade flows. We exploit a natural experiment from history to explore this issue: the many dramatic border changes that were imposed and codified by the peace treaties in 1919 across Europe. We follow Ritschl and Wolf (2008) and implement Ashenfelter’s difference-in-difference estimator in levels on a large, new data set on sub-national trade flows. This allows us to trace the effects of changing borders over time and produces two key results: first, new borders have a large effect on trade. However second, the “treatment effects” of borders tend to be significantly smaller than the pure cross-sectional effects. This is so, because most of the 1919 border changes followed a pattern of trade relations across the region that was clearly visible already before 1914. Borders shape trade, and trade shapes borders.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Christian Heinemeyer & Max-Stephan Schulze & Nikolaus Wolf, 2008. "Endogenous Borders? The Effects of New Borders on Trade in Central Europe 1885-1933," CESifo Working Paper Series 2246, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2246
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2246.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carolyn Evans, 2006. "Border effects and the availability of domestic products abroad," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 211-246, February.
    2. Volker Nitsch & Nikolaus Wolf, 2013. "Tear down this wall: on the persistence of borders in trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 154-179, February.
    3. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
    4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    5. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
    6. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2008. "Trade responses to geographic frictions: A decomposition using micro-data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 527-550, April.
    7. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    8. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
    9. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-660, November.
    10. Carolyn L. Evans, 2003. "The Economic Significance of National Border Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1291-1312, September.
    11. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
    12. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolf, Nikolaus, 2009. "Was Germany Ever United? Evidence from Intra- and International Trade, 1885–1933," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 846-881, September.
    2. Gabriel Felbermayr & Jasmin Gröschl, 2014. "Within U.S. Trade And The Long Shadow Of The American Secession," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 382-404, January.
    3. Carlos Llano‐Verduras & Asier Minondo & Francisco Requena‐Silvente, 2011. "Is the Border Effect an Artefact of Geographical Aggregation?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(10), pages 1771-1787, October.
    4. Nuria Gallego & Carlos Llano, 2014. "The Border Effect and the Nonlinear Relationship between Trade and Distance," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 1016-1048, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    border effects; treatment effects; European history;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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    1. Historical Economic Geography

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