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Working Paper


Effects of direct flights on trade costs are investigated using micro price data at the city level. After controlling for local retail/distribution costs, traded input prices are obtained to be further used in the measurement of trade costs across cities through arbitrage conditions. The existence of a direct flight enters trade costs regressions negatively and significantly. The results are shown to be robust to the consideration of many control variables, nonlinearities in the effects of distance on trade costs, possible endogeneity of having direct flights between cities and alternative definitions of the data. The direct flights that are shown to be determined by bilateral air services agreements are further shown to reduce trade costs through an endogeneity analysis; the main policy implications are twofold: (i) international trade policies through aviation services, such as Open Skies Agreements of the U.S., are alternative trade policy tools to reduce international trade barriers; (ii) direct flights facilitate the integration of internal markets as in the case of European Union.



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