IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Internal Trade and Aggregate Productivity


  • Jennifer Winter

    (Labour Program, HRSDC)

  • Trevor Tombe

    (Wilfrid Laurier University)


The positive link between international trade and productivity is well established. However, research on magnitude and consequences of internal trade barriers, which inhibit the efficient geographic distribution of production within a country, is limited. Unique data from Canada and China provide an ideal opportunity to measure the magnitude - and effect on productivity - of barriers to internal trade. Using a flexible, micro-founded approach, we find between-province trade costs average 30% in Canada and over 50% in China (net of distance-effects). These costs are even higher under other plausible parameter values. Internal trade costs in both countries are significantly higher in poor regions. We further adapt a new-trade model to estimate the productivity impact of these barriers. Eliminating inter-provincial trade barriers increases productivity by over 15% in the median province and by over 8% for Canada as a whole, accounting for nearly half the productivity gap with the United States. For comparison, we find these benefits are larger than lowering international trade barriers by 20%. Internal trade barriers also account for over 40% of the regional income inequality across provinces. The gains are even larger for China. Further work will investigate the extent to which high internal trade barriers in developing countries contributes to cross-country income and productivity differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Winter & Trevor Tombe, 2012. "Internal Trade and Aggregate Productivity," 2012 Meeting Papers 314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:314

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Delina E. Agnosteva & James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2014. "Intra-national Trade Costs: Measurement and Aggregation," NBER Working Papers 19872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare & Milagro Saborío-Rodríguez, 2016. "Trade, Domestic Frictions, and Scale Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3159-3184, October.

    More about this item


    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:red:sed012:314. 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: (Christian Zimmermann). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.