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A Simple Solution to the Distance Puzzle in International Trade

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  • Yotov, Yoto

    () (Department of Economics & International Business LeBow College of Business Drexel University)

Abstract

Despite ample anecdotal evidence for intensive international integration, the gravity literature of international trade fails to deliver consistent empirical support for globalization and for diminishing effects of distance on bilateral trade. Capitalizing on the properties of the structural gravity model, I propose a simple and intuitive solution to the alleged distance puzzle. Contrary to existing gravity estimates of distance effects that are persistent or increasing over time, I offer robust empirical evidence that the impact of distance on international trade in the world has fallen by close to 50% over the period 1965-2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Yotov, Yoto, 2012. "A Simple Solution to the Distance Puzzle in International Trade," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2012-6, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:drxlwp:2012_006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clément Bosquet & Hervé Boulhol, 2015. "What is really puzzling about the “distance puzzle”," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 151(1), pages 1-21, February.
    2. 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..
    3. 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.
    4. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2012. "Gold Standard Gravity," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 795, Boston College Department of Economics.
    5. de Sousa, José, 2012. "The currency union effect on trade is decreasing over time," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 917-920.
    6. Hervé Boulhol & Alain de Serres, 2010. "Have developed countries escaped the curse of distance?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 113-139, January.
    7. Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2006. "Notes on CEPII’s distances measures," MPRA Paper 26469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. James E. Anderson & Yoto V. Yotov, 2010. "The Changing Incidence of Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2157-2186, December.
    9. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    10. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    11. Lin, Faqin & Sim, Nicholas C.S., 2012. "Death of distance and the distance puzzle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 225-228.
    12. 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.
    13. Mario Larch & Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Steffen Sirries & Dieter M. Urban, 2016. "Heterogeneous Firms, Globalisation and the Distance Puzzle," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(9), pages 1307-1338, September.
    14. Céline Carrère & Maurice Schiff, 2005. "On the Geography of Trade. Distance is Alive and Well," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(6), pages 1249-1274.
    15. Rikhil Bhavnani & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian & David T. Coe, 2002. "The Missing Globalization Puzzle," IMF Working Papers 02/171, International Monetary Fund.
    16. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Structural Gravity; Distance Puzzle; (Missing) Globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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