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Do transport costs and tariffs shape the space-economy in the same way ?


  • BEHRENS, Kristian

    () (LEG - CNRS UMR 5118 - MSH - Université de Bourgogne)


We compare the impact of falling transport costs, borne by firms, and decreasing tariffs, borne by either firms or consumers, on the regional distribution of economic activities. Our main result shows that tariffs and tranport costs play symmetric roles in that a decrease in either of them favors agglomeration. Yet, tariff rent redistribution has a significant impact on the spatial equilibrium; when tariffs are origin- (resp. destination-based), agglomeration (resp. dispersion) is more likely to emerge in equilibrium. The market outcome is shown to be possibly inefficient when transport costs are strictly positive. Further, the range of parameter values for which equilibrium and optimum differ increases with the magnitude of tariff barriers. / Nous comparons les impacts d'une baisse des coûts de transport (payés par les firmes) et d'une diminution des tarifs (payés soit par les firmes, soit par les consommateurs) sur la répartition régionale de l'activité économique. Notre principal résultat montre qu'il y a symétrie entre coûts de transport et tarifs en ce sens qu'une baisse de l'un ou de l'autre favorise l'apparition d'agglomérations. Néanmoins, la redistribution des recettes des tarifs a un impact significatif sur l'équilibre spatial. Lorsque les tarifs sont prélevés sur la production (resp. sur la consommation), l'agglomération (resp. la dispersion) est plus probable d'être un équilibre. Nous montrons que la solution de marché peut être inefficiente en présence de coûts de transport strictement positifs. De plus, la plage de valeurs des paramètres pour lesquelles l'équilibre et l'optimum diffèrent augmente avec la valeur des barrières tarifaires.

Suggested Citation

  • BEHRENS, Kristian, 2003. "Do transport costs and tariffs shape the space-economy in the same way ?," LEG - Document de travail - Economie 2003-14, LEG, Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
  • Handle: RePEc:lat:legeco:2003-14

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    transport costs; tariff barriers; non-tariff barriers; agglomeration; economic geography; coûts de transport; tarifs; barrières non-tarifaires; agglomération; économie géographique.;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

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