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Logistics costs and competitiveness: measurement and trade policy applications

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  • Shepherd, Ben

Abstract

This paper examines the issue of measuring logistics costs from an applied trade policy research perspective, as well as identifying logistics-intensive sectors. It focuses on currently available data at the macro- and firm-levels. Data sources considered include national accounts, national input-output tables, the International Comparison Project, firm-level data, and production and trade data. Although current data exhibit a number of weaknesses compared with “custom” logistics costs data—notably in terms of sectoral definition—they nonetheless make it possible to conduct some preliminary empirical analysis that can inform future measurement efforts. First, the paper finds that there is little systematic evidence of a link between the size of the logistics sector and economic outcomes, such as trade openness. Second, the relationship between the size of the logistics sector and logistics performance is non-monotonic. Third, the size of the logistics sector only increases in per capita income up to a certain point, before the relationship turns negative. These findings suggest that measures of sectoral size—such as logistics costs relative to GDP—may be of limited use to researchers and policymakers because they do not have an unambiguous interpretation in terms of performance or economic outcomes. Fourth, however, direct indicators of price and performance are more clearly related to economic outcomes, and have a more straightforward relation with per capita income. The emphasis going forward should therefore be on compiling data that capture logistics performance most accurately, rather than sector size. Finally, the paper uses input-output data to identify logistics-intensive sectors, and finds suggestive evidence that improvements in logistics performance could lead to sectoral reallocations in favor of relatively heavy industries in developing countries, which is consistent with the goal of export diversification.

Suggested Citation

  • Shepherd, Ben, 2011. "Logistics costs and competitiveness: measurement and trade policy applications," MPRA Paper 38254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38254
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38254/1/MPRA_paper_38254.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Mengistae, Taye, 2006. "Investment climate and international integration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1498-1516, September.
    2. Yann Duval & Chorthip Utoktham, 2011. "Intraregional Trade Costs in Asia: A Primer," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 18(2), pages 1-23, December.
    3. H. Brooks, Douglas & Ferrarini, Benno, 2010. "Changing Trade Costs between People’s Republic of China and India," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 203, Asian Development Bank.
    4. Miroudot, Sébastien & Sauvage, Jehan & Shepherd, Ben, 2013. "Measuring the cost of international trade in services," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 719-735, October.
    5. Alessandro Olper & Valentina Raimondi, 2009. "Patterns and Determinants of International Trade Costs in the Food Industry," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 273-297.
    6. John S. Wilson & Catherine L. Mann & Tsunehiro Otsuki, 2005. "Assessing the Benefits of Trade Facilitation: A Global Perspective," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(6), pages 841-871, June.
    7. Bernard Hoekman & Alessandro Nicita, 2010. "Assessing the Doha Round: Market access, transactions costs and aid for trade facilitation," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 65-79.
    8. Shepherd, Ben, 2009. "Speed Money: Time, Corruption, and Trade," MPRA Paper 17337, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Chen, Natalie & Novy, Dennis, 2011. "Gravity, trade integration, and heterogeneity across industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 206-221.
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    Cited by:

    1. -, 2013. "Perspectivas económicas de América Latina 2014: logística y competitividad para el desarrollo," Coediciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1504 edited by Ocde.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Logistics; Trade policy; Data and measurement;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • L90 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - General

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