Directional imbalance of freight rates: Evidence from Japanese inter-prefectural data

Discussion Papers


by Kiyoyasu TANAKA , Kenmei TSUBOTA

January 2014


By analyzing a comprehensive dataset on transport transactions in Japan, we describe a directional imbalance in freight rates by transport mode and examine its potential sources, such as economies of density and directionally imbalanced transport flow. There are certain numbers of observed links which show asymmetric transport costs. Instrumental variable analysis is used to show that economies of density account for deviation from symmetric freight rates between prefectures. Our results show that a 10% increase in outbound transport flow relative to inbound transport flow leads to a 2.1% decrease in outbound freight rate relative to inbound freight rate.

Keywords: freight rates, directional imbalance, density economies
JEL classification: F14; L91; R41

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