State Failure, Violence and Trade: Deadly Trade Routes in Colombia

Authors: Paul Jung*, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Jean-Claude Thill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte, Banco de la Republica (Central Bank of Colombia)
Topics: Transportation Geography, Latin America, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: freight mobility, domestic armed conflicts, market access
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 41
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


We investigate the effect of the domestic armed conflict developed by the political instability on distance frictions of the freight mobility and subsequent differential openness of regions to the global market. Colombian transportation system has been studied to be impeded by lack of inland transport infrastructure and institution and fragmented political environments. U.S.-bounded export shipping records corroborate that a significant portion of the export freight shipping from inland regions are forwarded to the Atlantic ports over the Pacific ports despite greatly extended inland shipping distances. Our hypothesis is that the export freight shipping is re-routed to avoid exposures to the domestic armed conflict and the trade impedance increases. We exploit the trajectories of freight shipping from Colombian regions and spatial patterns of violent armed conflicts data to see how unstable geopolitical environments are detrimental to the shipping mobility and market openness. The discrete choice model of the trade routes shows that the shipping flow is greatly curbed by the extended re-routing due to the domestic armed conflict and inland regions have limited access to the global market. The results highlight that the political stability is necessarily accommodated for improved freight mobility and export-oriented economic development.

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