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Measures of International Transport Cost for OECD Countries


  • Stephen S. Golub

    (Swarthmore College)

  • Brian Tomasik


This paper presents new estimates of country-specific international transport costs for 21 OECD countries over the period 1973-2005. The methodology is based on direct measures of air, maritime, and road transport costs rather than on cif/fob ratios or other balance of payments data employed in previous studies. Transport costs are calculated as costs per kilogramme for each mode of transport at a bilateral level and then aggregated. Australia and New Zealand are found to have the highest transport costs among the OECD countries considered, followed by Japan. The time trends are sensitive to the choice of deflator, but the results do not show an overall downward trend in transport costs for OECD countries, contrary to conventional wisdom, but consistent with Hummels’ (2007) recent study of global transport costs. Les mesures internationales des coûts de transport pour les pays OCDE Ce document présente des nouvelles estimations de coûts de transport internationaux par pays, pour 21 membres de l’OCDE pendant la période 1973-2005. La méthode repose sur des mesures directes des coûts de transport par voies maritime, aérienne et routière, plutôt que sur des ratios cif/fob ou d’autres données issues de la balance des paiements employés dans des études précédentes. Les résultats indiquent que l’Australie et la Nouvelle Zélande ont les coûts de transport les plus élevés parmi les pays de l’OCDE considérés, suivi par le Japon. Les tendances dans le temps sont sensibles au choix du déflateur, mais il n’apparaît pas de tendance globale à la baisse des coûts de transports pour les pays de l’OCDE, contrairement aux idées reçues, mais en accord avec l’étude récente de Hummels (2007) sur les coûts de transport au niveau mondial.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen S. Golub & Brian Tomasik, 2008. "Measures of International Transport Cost for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 609, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:609-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Lopez-Cermeño, Alexandra, 2016. "Knowledge shocks diffusion and the resilience of regional inequality," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 22859, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

    More about this item


    air transport; commerce international; coûts de transport; distance; distance; expédition; international trade; maritime transport; OCDE; OECD; road transport; shipping; transport aérien; transport costs; transport maritime; transport routier;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L90 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - General
    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation

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