Handbook of International Trade and Transportation
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Handbook of International Trade and Transportation

Edited by Bruce A. Blonigen and Wesley W. Wilson

International trade has grown rapidly over the past half century, accommodated by the transportation industry through concomitant growth and technological change. But while the connection between transport and trade flows is clear, the academic literature often looks at these two issues separately. This Handbook is unique in pulling together the key insights of each field while highlighting what we know about their intersection and ideas for future research in this relatively unexamined but growing area of study.
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Chapter 5: Trade costs and international trade flows: methodologies, data, and empirical evidence

Michael O. Moore


This chapter provides a review of recent empirical work on the determinants of trade-related transportation costs and the subsequent impact on goods trade flows. Earlier studies have examined how improved international transportation systems (i.e. port-to-port costs) as well as upgraded port infrastructure can increase exports. More recent studies have focused increasingly on broad measures of “trade facilitation” using newly developed databases on internal transportation frictions. These new analyses, typically using gravity equation techniques, concentrate on policy-induced problems at the border as well as behind-the-border determinants such as logistics, domestic infrastructure, governance, and service sector restrictions. These issues have become more important as traditional trade barriers like tariffs have decreased. The review also documents the relative paucity of studies that examine firm level transportation frictions, which is likely to become a more important area of future research.

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