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On the effect of the Internet on international trade

  • Caroline L. Freund
  • Diana Weinhold

The Internet stimulates trade. Using a gravity equation of trade among 56 countries, we find no evidence of an effect of the Internet on total trade flows in 1995 and only weak evidence of an effect in 1996. However, we find an increasing and significant impact from 1997 to 1999. Specifically, our results imply that a 10 percent increase in the relative number of web hosts in one country would have led to about 1 percent greater trade in 1998 and 1999. Surprisingly, we find that the effect of the Internet on trade has been stronger for poor countries than for rich countries, and that there is little evidence that the Internet has reduced the impact of distance on trade. The evidence is consistent with a model in which the Internet creates a global exchange for goods, thereby reducing market-specific sunk costs of exporting.

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File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2000/693/default.htm
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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 693.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:693
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  1. Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1998. "The Role of History in Bilateral Trade Flows," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 33-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caroline Freund, 2000. "Different Paths To Free Trade: The Gains From Regionalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1317-1341, November.
  3. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  4. James A. Brander & Paul Krugman, 1983. "A 'Reciprocal Dumping' Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 1194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2000. "Information and Globalization: Wage Co-Movements, Labor Demand Elasticity, and Conventional Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 7671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  8. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-85, September.
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