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International Transport costs: New Findings from modeling additive costs


  • Guillaume Daudin

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine)

  • Jérôme Héricourt

    (CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, LEM - Lille économie management - LEM - UMR 9221 - Université de Lille - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Lise Patureau

    (LEDA-DIAL - Développement, Institutions et Modialisation - LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - Université Paris-Dauphine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This paper investigates the pattern of international transport costs over time, using information contained in the US imports flows over 1974-2013. First, we document the importance of the per-unit (additive) component of transport costs. We thus find that additive costs are quantitatively sizable, representing between one third and one half of overall transport costs. Second, we identify the respective roles of the reduction in "pure'' transport costs and trade composition effects in the downward trend of international transport costs, in the same spirit as Hummels (2007). Unlike him, we find that trade composition effects do not matter much and, when they do, they tend to amplify (rather than reduce) the decrease in pure transport costs. Importantly, this difference of results can be attributed to the new way of modeling the per-unit component of transport costs we offer. In both aspects, our results point to the importance of the additive component in accounting for international transport costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Daudin & Jérôme Héricourt & Lise Patureau, 2018. "International Transport costs: New Findings from modeling additive costs," Working Papers hal-01866647, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01866647
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