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Timeliness, Trade and Agglomeration

  • James Harrigan
  • Anthony J. Venables

An important element of the cost of distance is time taken in delivering final and intermediate goods. We argue that time costs are qualitatively different from direct monetary costs such as freight charges. The difference arises because of uncertainty. Unsynchronised deliveries can disrupt production, and delivery time can force producers to order components before demand and cost uncertainties are resolved. Using several related models we show that this generates hitherto unexplored incentives for clustering. If final assembly takes place in two locations and component production has increasing returns to scale, then component production will tend to cluster around just one of the assembly plants.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10404.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as Harrigan, James and Anthony J. Venables. “Timeliness and Agglomeration.” Journal of Urban Economics 59 (March 2006): 300-316.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10404
Note: ITI
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  1. Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Geography and International Inequalities: the Impact of New Technologies," CEP Discussion Papers dp0507, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Sutton, John, 1986. "Non-cooperative Bargaining Theory: An Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 709-24, October.
  3. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  4. David Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2012. "Time as a Trade Barrier," NBER Working Papers 17758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Towards an economic theory of incentives in just-in-time manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 432-439, April.
  6. Edward E. Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," NBER Working Papers 8450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Carolyn L. Evans & James Harrigan, 2003. "Distance, Time, and Specialization," NBER Working Papers 9729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2001. "The Determinants of Agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 191-229, September.
  9. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2004. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-370, August.
  10. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  11. Thomas H. Klier, 1999. "Agglomeration in the U.S. auto supplier industry," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 18-34.
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