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 4: Gravity models in air transport research: a survey and an application

Yahua Zhang, Faqin Lin and Anming Zhang


For more than 50 years, the gravity model has performed well in empirical studies on international trade flows. Its strong economic theoretical foundations have been acknowledged in the last 20 years. Its applications in air transport research remain relatively sparse. A review of the air transport literature employing gravity models in the last ten years shows that most of the studies have not accounted for the advances in empirical estimation techniques developed in international economics. We apply the gravity model in China’s aviation market using the Poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood (PPML) approach with fixed effects. The results indicate an enormous positive effect of the continuous liberalisation in the air transport sector in promoting the demand for air travel. The emergence of high-speed rail (HSR) has been a serious threat to China’s airline industry and could result in a significant reduction in the number of air passengers when given controls for other factors.

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