IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Coordination cost and the distance puzzle


  • Noblet, Sandrine
  • Belgodere, Antoine


Since 1960, transport costs have been falling, but international exchange did not become less sensitive to distance. We propose the following explanation for this puzzle: in a Dixit-Stiglitz framework, a decrease in transport cost favors trade, which may increase the international specialization (i.e. the number of varieties of intermediate goods used in production). An increased international specialization increases the need for coordination, and makes relatively more important for downstream firms to be close to their suppliers. As a result, trade increases with all partners, but more quickly for neighbors than for distant countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Noblet, Sandrine & Belgodere, Antoine, 2010. "Coordination cost and the distance puzzle," MPRA Paper 27502, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27502

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    4. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2005. "Assessing the impact of communication costs on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 428-445, December.
    5. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jean-François Brun & Céline Carrère & Patrick Guillaumont & Jaime de Melo, 2015. "Has Distance Died? Evidence from a Panel Gravity Model," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 13, pages 299-320 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Buch, Claudia M. & Kleinert, Jorn & Toubal, Farid, 2004. "The distance puzzle: on the interpretation of the distance coefficient in gravity equations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 293-298, June.
    8. Gilles Duranton & Michael Storper, 2008. "Rising trade costs? Agglomeration and trade with endogenous transaction costs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 292-319, February.
    9. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
    10. Sebastian Krautheim, 2007. "Gravity and Information: Heterogeneous Firms, Exporter Networks and the 'Distance Puzzle'," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/51, European University Institute.
    11. Rikhil Bhavnani & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian & David T. Coe, 2002. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle," IMF Working Papers 02/171, International Monetary Fund.
    12. 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.
    13. Keith Acheson, 2011. "Globalization," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 31 Edward Elgar Publishing.
      • Keith Acheson, 2003. "Globalization," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, chapter 31 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Lionel Fontagne & Soledad Zignago, 2007. "A Re-evaluation of the Impact of Regional Agreements on Trade Patterns," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 109, pages 31-51.
    15. David T Coe & Arvind Subramanian & Natalia T Tamirisa, 2007. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle: Evidence of the Declining Importance of Distance," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(1), pages 34-58, May.
    16. Cletus C. Coughlin, 2004. "The increasing importance of proximity for exports from U.S. states," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 1-18.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Transport cost ; coordination cost ; international trade ; distance puzzle;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.