World Trade Atlas 1870-2013

2015/11/06  |  academic

Rethinking distance in international trade. World Trade Atlas 1870-2013 

We introduce the World Trade Atlas 1870-2013, a collection of annual World Trade Maps where distance integrates the different dimensions affecting international trade beyond geography. The Atlas informs us about the long-run evolution of the international trade system and shows that, in terms of trade, the world is not flat, it is hyperbolic. The departure from flatness has been increasing since World War I, meaning that differences in trade distances are growing and becoming more hierarchical.Small economies are moving away from the rest of the world, except for their trade with the big economies, while big economies are increasing their chance of getting world-wide connected. At the same time, Preferential Trade Arrangements are not in perfect agreement to natural communities on trade space and have not necessarily effected an internal reduction of trade barriers. We discuss an interpretation in terms of globalization, hierarchicalization, and localization, three forces acting simultaneously to shape the international trade system. Watch the evolution of world trade with this interactive video tool World Trade Atlas 1870-2013