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On the Death of Distance and Borders: Evidence from the Nineteenth Century

  • David S. Jacks

In this paper, we investigate time-dependent border and distance effects in the nineteenth century and document clear declines in the importance of these variables through time. What this suggests, in light of the work for the post-1950 era, is that researchers might have correctly identified the increasing effect of distance on bilateral trade over time. In other words, trade costs may have not declined nearly as dramatically in the late twentieth century as has been supposed, especially in light of the nineteenth century, a time of documented trade cost decline and commodity market integration.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15250.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Jacks, David S., 2009. "On the death of distance and borders: Evidence from the nineteenth century," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 230-233, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15250
Note: DAE
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  1. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "How wide is the border?," International Finance Discussion Papers 498, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Carrere, Celine & Schiff, Maurice, 2004. "On the geography of trade : distance is alive and well," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3206, The World Bank.
  4. Jacks, David S., 2006. "What drove 19th century commodity market integration?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 383-412, July.
  5. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2008. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 310-320, July.
  7. Shiue, Carol H., 2005. "From political fragmentation towards a customs union: Border effects of the German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 129-162, August.
  8. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
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