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Geographically Disaggregated Import Data and Consumer Gains from Trade


David Riker


This article examines the geographic concentration of manufacturing imports as they enter the United States. Variations in import shares at the U.S. Customs district level can be explained in part by the distances between the districts and the exporting countries, and in part by the districts’ proximity to the U.S. consumers who will buy the imports. The patterns in the import data indicate that shipping costs within the United States affect consumption patterns for imported goods. They also identify the consumers that are likely to gain the most from trade liberalization—those living in the states closest to the most frequent ports of entry of imports. These patterns suggest that the geographically disaggregated data contain economically relevant information that could be incorporated into models of international trade.

Tags(s): Manufacturing