Paving dirt roads and building highway networks have unsurprisingly been shown to produce substantial economic gains, but what is the impact on domestic trade from improving existing road networks? Using spatially disaggregated data on major capacity upgrades of existing road networks and domestic transactions in Turkey, this column, originally published at VoxEU, estimates a large positive impact of reduced travel times on trade and regional employment, and long-run aggregate real income gains of 2-3%.
Benford’s law – which suggests that the leading digits in various types of numerical data are not uniformly distributed – can be used to detect tax evasion in international trade. This column reports an application to imports data and an unexpected trade policy change in Turkey, the results of which reveal an increase in evasion after a doubling of the tax on imports that use external financing. Based on such analysis, tax authorities could decide where to channel resources in their fight against evasion.
The removal of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement quotas that governed global trade in textiles and clothing until the end of 2004 led to a big rise in competition from China for some Turkish exporters to the European Union. This VoxEU column reports evidence that Turkish exporters affected by an increase in competitive pressures responded both by lowering their prices and by extending the trade credit they offered to importers.
Investment in transport infrastructure can improve a country’s growth prospects by facilitating trade. This column reports the findings of research on the impact of a major programme of road upgrades in Turkey from the early 2000s, which converted many two-lane undivided roads into dual carriageways. Trade both within the country and with other countries has benefited significantly from these improvements.