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Trade and geography

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  • Redding, Stephen

Abstract

This paper reviews recent research on geography and trade. One of the key empirical findings over the last decade has been the role of geography in shaping the distributional consequences of trade. One of the major theoretical advances has been the development of quantitative spatial models that incorporate both exogenous first-nature geography (natural endowments) and endogenous secondnature geography (the location choices of economic agents relative to one another) as determinants of the distribution of economic activity across space. These models are sufficiently rich to capture firstorder features of the data, such as gravity equations for flows of goods and people. Yet they remain sufficiently tractable as to permit an analytical characterization of the properties of the general equilibrium and facilitate counterfactuals for realistic policy interventions. We distinguish between models of regions or systems of cities (where goods trade and migration take center stage) and models of the internal structure of cities (where commuting becomes relevant). We review some of key empirical predictions of both sets of theories and show that they have been remarkably successful in rationalizing the empirical findings from reduced-form research. Looking ahead, the combination of recent theoretical advances and novel geo-coded data on economic interactions at a fine spatial scale promises many interesting avenues for further research, including discriminating between alternative mechanisms for agglomeration, understanding the implications of new technologies for the organization of work, and assessing the causes, consequences and potential policy implications of spatial sorting.

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  • Redding, Stephen, 2020. "Trade and geography," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108235, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:108235
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    1. Anna-Theresa Renner & Dieter Pennerstorfer, 2020. "Modeling inter-regional patient mobility: Does distance go far enough?," Economics working papers 2020-04, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Autor, David & Dorn, David & Hanson, Gordon, 2021. "On the Persistence of the China Shock," CEPR Discussion Papers 16688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Elena Perra, 2022. "Road to Division: Ethnic Favouritism in the Provision of Road Infrastructure in Ethiopia," Working Papers - Economics wp2022_01.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    4. Escaith, Hubert, 2022. "From Hyper-globalization to Global Value Chains Decoupling: Withering Global Trade Governance?," MPRA Paper 115267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Lindgren, Erik & Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Tyrefors, Björn, 2021. "The Causal Effect of Transport Infrastructure: Evidence from a New Historical Database," Working Paper Series 1407, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Björn Thor Arnarson & Joakim Gullstrand, 2022. "Linking local services to global manufactures," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 124(1), pages 3-34, January.
    7. Brooks, Leah & Gendron-Carrier, Nicolas & Rua, Gisela, 2021. "The local impact of containerization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    8. Wim Naudé & Martin Cameron, 2021. "Export-Led Growth after COVID-19: The Case of Portugal," Notas Económicas, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, issue 52, pages 7-53, July.
    9. Krebs, Oliver & Pflüger, Michael P., 2019. "On the Road (Again): Commuting and Local Employment Elasticities in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 12257, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Fiorini, Matteo & Sanfilippo, Marco & Sundaram, Asha, 2021. "Trade liberalization, roads and firm productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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