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Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model

  • Brun, Jean-François
  • Carrère, Céline
  • de Melo, Jaime
  • Guillaumont, Patrick

This paper reports panel gravity estimates of aggregate bilateral trade for 130 countries over the period 1962-96 in which the coefficient of distance is allowed to change over time. In a standard specification, in which transport costs are proxied only, it is found paradoxically that the absolute value of the elasticity of bilateral trade to distance has been significantly increasing. The result is attributed to a relatively larger decline in costs independent of distance (such as handling) than in distance-related costs (e.g. oil price). An extended version of the model that controls for these two factors eliminates this positive trend without reversing it. However, when the sample is split into two groups (‘rich-rich' and ‘poor-poor'), the paradox is maintained for the ‘poor-poor' group. While not conclusive, these results are consistent with the view that poor countries may have been marginalized by the current wave of globalization.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3500.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3500
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  1. David Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2012. "Time as a Trade Barrier," NBER Working Papers 17758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Limao, Nuno & Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Infrastructure, geographical disadvantage, and transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2257, The World Bank.
  3. J. A. Hausman & W. E. Taylor, 1980. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Working papers 255, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Dollar, David & Micco, Alejandro & Clark, Ximena, 2002. "Maritime transport costs and port efficiency," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2781, The World Bank.
  5. Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Jean-François BRUN & Jaime MELO DE, 1998. "La distance abolie ? Critères et mesure de la mondialisation du commerce extérieur," Working Papers 199830, CERDI.
  6. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
  7. Breusch, Trevor S & Mizon, Grayham E & Schmidt, Peter, 1989. "Efficient Estimation Using Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 695-700, May.
  8. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  9. Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2003. "The proper panel econometric specification of the gravity equation: A three-way model with bilateral interaction effects," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 571-580, July.
  10. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  11. repec:cdi:wpaper:857 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  13. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72, December.
  14. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1989. "The Generalized Gravity Equation, Monopolistic Competition, and the Factor-Proportions Theory in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 143-53, February.
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