Are Matched Partner Trade Statistics a Usable Measure of Transportation Costs?

18 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006  

David L. Hummels

Purdue University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Volodymyr Lugovskyy

University of Memphis - Fogelman College of Business and Economics

Abstract

Data on transportation costs are difficult to obtain. In the absence of good data, many researchers have turned to indirect measures of transportation costs constructed using matched partner c.i.f./f.o.b. ratios from IMF and UN data. We investigate whether these data are usable, by comparing their levels and variation to directly measured transport costs for the US and New Zealand. We find that IMF c.i.f./f.o.b. ratios are badly error-ridden in levels, and contain no useful information for time-series or cross-commodity variation. However, the IMF data do appear to reveal some meaningful cross-exporter variation that might be usefully exploited by researchers.

Suggested Citation

Hummels, David L. and Lugovskyy, Volodymyr, Are Matched Partner Trade Statistics a Usable Measure of Transportation Costs?. Review of International Economics, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 69-86, February 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=875930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9396.2006.00561.x

David L. Hummels (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Volodymyr Lugovskyy

University of Memphis - Fogelman College of Business and Economics ( email )

Memphis, TN 38152
United States

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