Genetic distance, transportation costs, and trade

Paola Giuliano, Antonio Spilimbergo, Giovanni Tonon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genetic distance, geographic proximity, and economic variables are strongly correlated. Disentangling the effects of these factors is crucial for interpreting these correlations. We show that geographic factors that shaped genetic patterns in the past are also relevant for current transportation costs and could explain the correlation between trading flows and genetic distance. After controlling for geography, the impact of genetic distance on trade disappears. We make our point by constructing a database on geographical barriers, by introducing a novel dataset on transportation costs, and by proposing a new classification of goods according to the ease with which they can be transported.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlbt019
Pages (from-to)224-225
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Cultural economics
  • Genetics
  • Geography
  • Trade
  • Transportation costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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