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Road Connectivity and the Border Effect: Evidence from Europe

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  • Mauro Pisu
  • Henrik Braconier

Abstract

Several studies have reported a large negative effect of national borders on the volume of trade. We provide new estimates of the border effect for continental Europe using road rather than great circle – or “as-crows-fly” – distance. Road distances for 48 180 European city pairs have been extracted from Bing Maps Routing Services. As our dataset also has information on travel time, we are able to consider costs related to time in addition to those depending on distance. We find that for the same great circle distance and the same city size, the road distance between two cities located in the same country is around 10% shorter than that between cities located in different ones. Travel speed is also higher between cities in the same country. We find that by using measures based on the actual road distance rather than the great circle distance, the negative effect of international borders on goods trade in a standard gravity equation is lowered by around 15%. Time-related trade costs account for an additional 10% reduction in the border effect. Overall these results point to the importance of road networks – and road transport policy in general – to enhance market integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Mauro Pisu & Henrik Braconier, 2013. "Road Connectivity and the Border Effect: Evidence from Europe," Discussion Papers 2013-06, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:13/06
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    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/papers/2013/2013-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David L. Hummels & Georg Schaur, 2013. "Time as a Trade Barrier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2935-2959, December.
    2. John F. Helliwell & Geneviève Verdier, 2001. "Measuring internal trade distances: a new method applied to estimate provincial border effects in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1024-1041, November.
    3. Simeon Djankov & Caroline Freund & Cong S. Pham, 2010. "Trading on Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 166-173, February.
    4. Bougheas, Spiros & Demetriades, Panicos O. & Morgenroth, Edgar L. W., 1999. "Infrastructure, transport costs and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 169-189, February.
    5. Carolyn Evans, 2006. "Border effects and the availability of domestic products abroad," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 211-246, February.
    6. Russell H. Hillberry, 2002. "Aggregation bias, compositional change, and the border effect," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(3), pages 517-530, August.
    7. Chen, Natalie, 2004. "Intra-national versus international trade in the European Union: why do national borders matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 93-118, May.
    8. Carolyn L. Evans & James Harrigan, 2005. "Distance, Time, and Specialization: Lean Retailing in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 292-313, March.
    9. Alain de Serres & Peter Hoeller & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2001. "The Width of the Intra-European Economic Borders," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 304, OECD Publishing.
    10. Carolyn L. Evans, 2003. "The Economic Significance of National Border Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1291-1312, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Felbermayr & Jasmin Katrin Gröschl & Thomas Steinwachs, 2016. "Handelseffekte von Grenzkontrollen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(05), pages 18-27, March.
    2. Tarasov, Alexander & Felbermayr, Gabriel, 2014. "Trade and the Spatial Distribution of Transport Infrastructure," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100511, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    road transport; international trade; distance; travel time; gravity;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • R49 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Other

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