Long-Range Growth: Economic Development in the Global Network of Air Links
with David Yanagizawa-Drott. Quarterly Journal of Economics 133(3): 1395-1458, August 2018 [Online Article] [PDF]
We study the impact of international long-distance flights on the global spatial allocation of economic activity. To identify causal effects, we exploit variation due to regulatory and technological constraints, which gives rise to a discontinuity in connectedness between cities at a distance of 6,000 miles. We show that improving an airport’s position in the network of air links has a positive effect on local economic activity, as captured by satellite-measured night lights. We find that air links increase business links, showing that the movement of people fosters the movement of capital. In particular, this is driven mostly by capital flowing from high-income to middle-income (but not low-income) countries. Taken together, the results suggest that increasing interconnectedness induces links between businesses and generates economic activity at the local level but also gives rise to increased spatial inequality locally, and potentially globally.
- How Direct Flights Shape a City’s Fortunes CityLab, Oct 31, 2017
- What Happens When the Richest U.S. Cities Turn to the World? New York Times (Upshot), Dec 22, 2017