IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpit/0511010.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Distance and Trade: Disentangling unfamiliarity effects and transport cost effects

Author

Listed:
  • Rocco Huang

    (The World Bank & The University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper provides evidence supporting Grossman’s (1996) claim that not only transport costs but also unfamiliarity can explain the negative correlation between geographic distances and bilateral trade volumes. A gravity model that controls for as many natural causes of trade as possible reveals that countries high in uncertainty-aversion (based on Hofstede’s survey) export disproportionately less to distant countries (with which they are presumably less familiar). More important, this result is mainly driven by differentiated products, not by products with international organized exchanges or with reference prices. For transport costs alone to explain such a trade pattern, one would have to assume that distance-related ad valorem transport costs are higher when a trade route originates from a high uncertainty-aversion country, which is unlikely. This trade pattern is easy to explain, however, if one accepts that geographic distance is a proxy for unfamiliarity and that exporters in high uncertainty-aversion countries are more sensitive to informational ambiguity. A further result is that high uncertainty- aversion countries trade less and thus grow more slowly in the long run, which suggests that cultural factors are as important as geographic ones in determining trade openness.

Suggested Citation

  • Rocco Huang, 2005. "Distance and Trade: Disentangling unfamiliarity effects and transport cost effects," International Trade 0511010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0511010
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/it/papers/0511/0511010.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
    4. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene, 2005. "The determinants of cross-border equity flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 269-296, March.
    5. Raman Uppal & Tan Wang, 2003. "Model Misspecification and Underdiversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2465-2486, December.
    6. Elhanan Helpman, 1999. "The Structure of Foreign Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    7. Alejandro Micco & Tomas Serebrisky, 2004. "Infrastructure, Competition Regimes and Air Transport Costs: Cross Country Evidence," Research Department Publications 4369, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    8. R. Gaston Gelos & Shang‐Jin Wei, 2005. "Transparency and International Portfolio Holdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2987-3020, December.
    9. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
    13. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    14. James E. Rauch & Alessandra Casella, 2003. "Overcoming Informational Barriers to International Resource Allocation: Prices and Ties," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 21-42, January.
    15. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    16. Egger, Peter, 2000. "A note on the proper econometric specification of the gravity equation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 25-31, January.
    17. Clark, Ximena & Dollar, David & Micco, Alejandro, 2004. "Port efficiency, maritime transport costs, and bilateral trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 417-450, December.
    18. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    19. Laszlo Matyas, 1997. "Proper Econometric Specification of the Gravity Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 363-368, May.
    20. Francisco Rodríguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Simon J. Evenett & Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 281-316, April.
    22. Huang, Rocco R., 2008. "Tolerance for uncertainty and the growth of informationally opaque industries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 333-353, October.
    23. Stulz, Rene M. & Williamson, Rohan, 2003. "Culture, openness, and finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 313-349, December.
    24. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    25. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
    26. Subramanian Rangan & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1999. "Search and Deliberation in International Exchange: Learning from Multinational Trade About Lags, Distance Effects, and Home Bias," NBER Working Papers 7012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Alan V. Deardorff, 2011. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Robert M Stern (ed.), Comparative Advantage, Growth, And The Gains From Trade And Globalization A Festschrift in Honor of Alan V Deardorff, chapter 24, pages 267-293, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    28. Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1998. "The Role of History in Bilateral Trade Flows," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 33-62, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Kenneth Kasa, 2000. "Knightian uncertainty and home bias," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct6.
    30. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    31. Loungani, Prakash & Mody, Ashoka & Razin, Assaf, 2002. "The Global Disconnect: The Role of Transactional Distance and Scale Economies in Gravity Equations," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 526-543, December.
    32. Ben S. Bernanke & Kenneth S. Rogoff (ed.), 2001. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262523140, December.
    33. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
    34. repec:hrv:faseco:30726298 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Prakash Loungani & Ashoka Mody & Assaf Razin, 2002. "The Global Disconnect: The Role of Transactional Distance and Scale Economies in Gravity Equations," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 526-543, November.
    36. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene & Oh, Yonghyup, 2001. "Information and capital flows: The determinants of transactions in financial assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 783-796, May.
    37. Micco, Alejandro & Serebrisky, Tomas, 2004. "Infrastructure, competition regimes, and air transport costs: cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3355, The World Bank.
    38. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    39. Gould, David M, 1994. "Immigrant Links to the Home Country: Empirical Implications for U.S. Bilateral Trade Flows," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 302-316, May.
    40. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Trade and Search: Social Capital, Sogo Shosha, and Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    41. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
    42. Keith Head & John Ries, 1998. "Immigration and Trade Creation: Econometric Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 47-62, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2014. "Gravity Equations: Workhorse,Toolkit, and Cookbook," Handbook of International Economics, in: Gopinath, G. & Helpman, . & Rogoff, K. (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 131-195, Elsevier.
    2. Bailey, Michael & Gupta, Abhinav & Hillenbrand, Sebastian & Kuchler, Theresa & Richmond, Robert & Stroebel, Johannes, 2021. "International trade and social connectedness," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    3. Daude, Christian & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2008. "The pecking order of cross-border investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 94-119, January.
    4. Ms. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek, 2003. "Of Openess and Distance: Trade Developments in the Commonwealth of Independent States, 1993-2002," IMF Working Papers 2003/207, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2012. "Home Bias in Primary Agricultural and Processed Food Trade: Assessing the Effects of National Degree of Uncertainty Aversion," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-290, June.
    6. Brülhart, Marius & Trionfetti, Federico, 2009. "A test of trade theories when expenditure is home biased," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 830-845, October.
    7. Dasgupta, Kunal & Mondria, Jordi, 2018. "Inattentive importers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 150-165.
    8. Aviat, Antonin & Coeurdacier, Nicolas, 2007. "The geography of trade in goods and asset holdings," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 22-51, March.
    9. Christian Volpe Martincus & Jerónimo Carballo, 2010. "Entering new country and product markets: does export promotion help?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 437-467, September.
    10. Joshua J. Lewer & Hendrik Van den Berg, 2007. "Religion and International Trade: Does the Sharing of a Religious Culture Facilitate the Formation of Trade Networks?," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 765-794, October.
    11. Ben Dolman, 2007. "Patterns of Migration, Trade and Foreign Direct Investment across OECD Countries," DEGIT Conference Papers c012_030, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    12. Dennis Novy, 2013. "Gravity Redux: Measuring International Trade Costs With Panel Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 101-121, January.
    13. Christopher R. Parsons & L. Alan Winters, 2014. "International migration, trade and aid: a survey," Chapters, in: Robert E.B. Lucas (ed.), International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 4, pages 65-112, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Noel Gaston & Douglas R. Nelson, 2013. "Bridging Trade Theory And Labour Econometrics: The Effects Of International Migration," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 98-139, February.
    15. Christian Volpe Martincus & Jerónimo Carballo, 2010. "Entering new country and product markets: does export promotion help?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 437-467, September.
    16. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
    17. Daniel J. Henderson & Daniel L. Millimet, 2008. "Is gravity linear?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 137-172.
    18. Jasmin Katrin Gröschl, 2013. "Gravity Model Applications and Macroeconomic Perspectives," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 48, September.
    19. Wessel, Jan, 2019. "Evaluating the transport-mode-specific trade effects of different transport infrastructure types," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 42-57.
    20. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:wpa:wuwpit:0511010. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: EconWPA (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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.