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A trade hierarchy of cities based on transport cost thresholds

Details

Identification
JRC nr: JRC115750
Publication date
14 March 2019

Description

Empirical evidence has been lacking to explain trade agglomerations over short distances. Starting with a novel micro-database of road freight shipments within Spain for the period 2003-2007, we break down city (municipal) trade flows into the extensive and intensive margins and assess trade frictions and trade concentration relying on a unique generalized transport cost measure and three internal borders, NUTS-5 (municipal), NUTS-3 (provincial) and NUTS-2 (regional). We discover a stark accumulation of trade flows up to a transport cost value of e189 (approx. 170km) and conclude that this high density is due not to administrative borders effects but to significant changes in the trade-to-transport costs relationship. To support this hypothesis, we propose and conduct an endogenous Chow test to identify significant thresholds at which trade flows change structurally with distance. These breakpoints allow us to split the sample when controlling for internal borders, and to define trade market areas corresponding to specific transport costs values that consistently reveal an urban hierarchy of cities. The results provide clear evidence to corroborate the predictions of central place theory.

Authors:

DIAZ LANCHAS Jorge, LLANO VERDURAS Carlos, ZOFIO Jose Luis

Files

jrc115750.pdf
English
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