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Distance, Time, and Specialization

  • Carolyn L. Evans
  • James Harrigan

Time is money, and distance matters. We model the interaction of these truisms, and show the implications for global specialization and trade: products where timely delivery is important will be produced near the source of final demand, where wages will be higher as a result. In the model, timely delivery is important because it allows retailers to respond to fluctuating final demand without holding costly inventories, and timely delivery is only possible from nearby locations. Using a unique dataset that allows us to measure the retail demand for timely delivery, we show that the sources of US apparel imports have shifted in the way predicted by the model, with products where timeliness matters increasingly imported from nearby countries.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9729.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9729.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Publication status: published as Evans, Carolyn L. and James Harrigan. "Distance, Time, And Specialization: Lean Retailing In General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(1,Mar), 292-313.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9729
Note: ITI
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  1. David Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2012. "Time as a Trade Barrier," NBER Working Papers 17758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Redding, Stephen J. & Venables, Anthony J, 2000. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alan V. Deardorff, 2014. "Local comparative advantage: Trade costs and the pattern of trade," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 10(1), pages 9-35, 03.
  4. Anthony Venables, 2001. "Geography and International Inequalities: The Impact of New Technologies," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 135-159, June.
  5. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  6. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, June.
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