DP3958 Core-Periphery Patterns of Generalized Transport Costs: France, 1978-98

Author(s): Pierre-Philippe Combes, Miren Lafourcade
Publication Date: July 2003
Keyword(s): C81, geodesic distance, infrastructure, R40, regional development, transport costs
JEL(s): F15, H54
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3958

This Paper develops a methodology to compute transport costs at low infra-country geographical levels. This simultaneously accounts for the real network infrastructure, a distance cost (fuel, repair, tolls), and a time opportunity cost (wages, insurance and general charges, vehicle use). When considering levels, geodesic distance, real distance, and real time are shown to be good substitutes to the measure we develop. By contrast, variations across time are poorly captured by these simpler transport cost measures. Besides, the large decrease in transport costs that occurred in France between 1978 and 1998 - namely 38:2% - is shown to be mainly due to technology improvements and deregulation. New transport infrastructures, which contribute only marginally to this decline, shape the spatial pattern of accessibility improvements, however.