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International Trade and Social Connectedness

Author

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  • Michael Bailey
  • Abhinav Gupta
  • Sebastian Hillenbrand
  • Theresa Kuchler
  • Robert Richmond
  • Johannes Stroebel

Abstract

We use anonymized data from Facebook to construct a new measure of the pairwise social connectedness between 180 countries and 332 European regions. We find that two countries trade more with each other when they are more socially connected and when they share social connections with a similar set of other countries. The social connections that determine trade in each product are those between the regions where the product is produced in the exporting country and those where it is used in the importing country. Once we control for social connectedness, the estimated effect of geographic distance on trade declines substantially, and the effect of country borders disappears. Our findings suggest that social connectedness increases trade by reducing information asymmetries and by providing a substitute for both trust and formal mechanisms of contract enforcement. We also present evidence against omitted variables and reverse causality as alternative explanations for the observed relationships between social connectedness and trade flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bailey & Abhinav Gupta & Sebastian Hillenbrand & Theresa Kuchler & Robert Richmond & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "International Trade and Social Connectedness," CESifo Working Paper Series 8248, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8248
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Bailey & Drew Johnston & Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Bogdan State & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "Online Appendix & Additional Results for The Determinants of Social Connectedness in Europe," Papers 2007.12177, arXiv.org.
    2. Bailey, Michael & Farrell, Patrick & Kuchler, Theresa & Stroebel, Johannes, 2020. "Social connectedness in urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    3. Kichko, Sergey & Picard, Pierre M., 2021. "Effect of conformism on firm selection, product quality and home bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 402-418.
    4. Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "The Geographic Spread of COVID-19 Correlates with the Structure of Social Networks as Measured by Facebook," NBER Working Papers 26990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Theresa Kuchler & Yan Li & Lin Peng & Johannes Stroebel & Dexin Zhou, 2020. "Social Proximity to Capital: Implications for Investors and Firms," NBER Working Papers 27299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bailey, Michael & Kuchler, Theresa & Russel, Dominic & State, Bogdan & Stroebel, Johannes, 2020. "Social Connectedness in Europe," SocArXiv 3wh67, Center for Open Science.
    7. Santamaria, Marta & Ventura, Jaume & Yesilbayraktar, Ugur, 2021. "Borders within Europe," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 560, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    8. Michael Bailey & Drew M. Johnston & Martin Koenen & Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "Social Networks Shape Beliefs and Behavior: Evidence from Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 28234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Michael Bailey & Drew Johnston & Martin Koenen & Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "Social Distancing during a Pandemic: The Role of Friends," CESifo Working Paper Series 8771, CESifo.
    10. Santamaría, Marta & Ventura, Jaume & Yesilbayraktar, Ugur, 2021. "Borders within Europe," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1355, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    11. Andreas Diemer & Tanner Regan, 2020. "No inventor is an island: social connectedness and the geography of knowledge flows in the US," CEP Discussion Papers dp1731, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Michael Bailey & Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Bogdan State & Johannes Stroebel, 2020. "The Determinants and Effects of Social Connectedness in Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 8310, CESifo.
    13. Xuejian Wang, 2020. "Product Differentiation and Geographical Expansion of Exports Network at Industry level," Papers 2012.07008, arXiv.org.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; social connectedness; contract enforcement; information frictions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General

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