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There goes gravity: how eBay reduces trade costs

  • Lendle, Andreas
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo
  • Schropp, Simon
  • Vézina, Pierre-Louis

We compare the impact of distance, a standard proxy for trade costs, on eBay and offline international trade flows. We consider the same set of 62 countries and the same basket of goods for both types of transactions. We find the effect of distance to be on average 65 percent smaller on the eBay online platform than offline. Using interaction variables, we show this difference is explained by a reduction of information and trust frictions enabled through online technology. We estimate the welfare gains from a reduction in offline frictions to the level prevailing online at 29 percent on average.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9094.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9094
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  1. James Feyrer, 2009. "Distance, Trade, and Income - The 1967 to 1975 Closing of the Suez Canal as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
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  10. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2004. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3293, The World Bank.
  11. Babur De Los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "Testing Models of Consumer Search Using Data on Web Browsing and Purchasing Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2955-80, October.
  12. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 508, Econometric Society.
  15. Blum, Bernardo S. & Goldfarb, Avi, 2006. "Does the internet defy the law of gravity?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 384-405, December.
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