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The final frontier? Border effects and German regional wages


  • Brakman, Steven
  • Garretsen, Harry
  • Schramm, Marc


Recent studies of border effects have focused on the intra-country and inter-country comparison of trade flows. It is found that borders have a negative impact on the size of cross-border trade. In order to estimate border effects on a regional level one needs not only data on inter-country but also on intra-country trade. For many countries (regional) data on intra-country trade are simply lacking, which makes an analysis of border effects and border regions cumbersome. In this paper we take a different approach to measure the impact of borders. We estimate a market potential function for German regional wages and by analysing whether German border regions can be distinguished from the other regions in terms of their wages. We use a market potential function because its basic idea (regional wages fall the further one moves away from economic centers) can be grounded on different trade theories and also because the resulting wage equation is related to border effect studies based on trade flows. We use a data set for 441 German districts for the years 1992 and 1995. In general, we find some evidence that is consistent with the existence of border effects but this evidence is probably better looked upon as an indication of a strong localisation of demand spillovers on regional wages in general. Even though border effects can not be ruled out, the overriding outcome is that of a strong localization of demand spill-overs for all German regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2002. "The final frontier? Border effects and German regional wages," HWWA Discussion Papers 197, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:26233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ciccone, Antonio, 2002. "Agglomeration effects in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 213-227, February.
    2. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-1125, December.
    3. Niebuhr, Annekatrin & Stiller, Silvia, 2002. "Integration effects in border regions : a survey of economic theory and empirical studies," HWWA Discussion Papers 179, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    4. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    5. Holger C. Wolf, 2000. "Intranational Home Bias In Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 555-563, November.
    6. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
    7. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade & Thierry Mayer, 2003. "Can Business and Social Networks Explain the Border Effect Puzzle?," Working Papers 2003-02, CEPII research center.
    8. van Houtum, H.J., 1998. "The development of cross-border economic relations," Other publications TiSEM 9f9d10bf-9df7-43f8-a3e5-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
    10. Michael Roos, "undated". "Wages and Market Potential in Germany," Discussion Papers in Economics 00_09, University of Dortmund, Department of Economics.
    11. J.Peter Neary, 2001. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas: Introducing the New Economic Geography," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 536-561, June.
    12. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
    13. Paul Krugman, 1998. "Space: The Final Frontier," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 161-174, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miren Lafourcade & Elisenda Paluzie Hernandez, 2005. "European Integration, FDI and the Internal Geography of Trade: Evidence from Western European Border Regions," Working Papers in Economics 145, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    2. repec:use:tkiwps:088 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    economic geography; empirical estimation; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General


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