Can Business and Social Networks Explain the Border Effect Puzzle?

30 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2003

See all articles by Pierre-Philippe Combes

Pierre-Philippe Combes

Université de Lyon; Sciences Po - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Miren Lafourcade

Paris School of Economics (PSE); University of Paris- Sud 11

Thierry Mayer

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - TEAM; Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS); CEPII, Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Info. Internationales, Paris; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 2003

Abstract

McCallum (1995) shows in an influential contribution that, even when controlling for the impact of bilateral distance and region size, borders sharply reduce trade volumes between countries. We use in this Paper data on bilateral trade flows between 94 French regions, for 10 industries and two years (1978 and 1993) to study the magnitude and variations over time of trade impediments, both distance-related and (administrative) border-related. We focus on assessing the role that business and social networks can play in shaping trade patterns and explaining the border effect puzzle. Using a structural econometric approach, we show that intranational administrative borders significantly affect trade patterns inside France. The impact is of the same order of magnitude as in Wolf (2000) for trade inside the United States. We show that more than 60% of these (puzzling) intranational border effects can be explained by the composition of local labour force in terms of birth place (social networks) and by inter-plants connections (business networks). In addition, controlling for these network effects reduces the impact of transport cost on trade flows by a comparable factor. Thus, business and social networks that help to reduce informational trade barriers are shown to be strong determinants of trade patterns and to explain a large part of the border puzzle.

Keywords: Gravity, border effects, networks

JEL Classification: F12, F15

Suggested Citation

Combes, Pierre-Philippe and Lafourcade, Miren and Mayer, Thierry, Can Business and Social Networks Explain the Border Effect Puzzle? (February 2003). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3750. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=385908

Pierre-Philippe Combes (Contact Author)

Université de Lyon ( email )

92 Rue Pasteur
Lyon, 69007
France

Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints peres
Paris, 75007
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.gate.cnrs.fr/ppcombes

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Miren Lafourcade

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

University of Paris- Sud 11 ( email )

15 Rue Georges Clemenceau
Orsay, 91400
France

Thierry Mayer

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - TEAM ( email )

106-112 boulevard de l'hôpital
Cedex 13 Paris, P75647
France

HOME PAGE: http://team.univ-paris1.fr/teamperso/mayer/thierry.htm

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Peres
75007 Paris
France
+33 1 4407 8267 (Phone)
+33 1 4407 8267 (Fax)

CEPII, Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Info. Internationales, Paris ( email )

9 Rue Georges Pitard
Paris Cedex 15, F-75015
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepii.fr/anglaisgraph/pagepers/mayer.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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