Distance, skill deepening and development: Will peripheral countries ever get rich?

Stephen Redding, Peter K. Schott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


This paper models the relationship between countries' distance from global economic activity, endogenous investments in education and economic development. Firms in remote locations pay greater trade costs on both exports and intermediate imports, reducing the amount of value added left to remunerate domestic factors of production. If skill-intensive sectors have higher trade costs, more pervasive input-output linkages or stronger increasing returns to scale, we show theoretically that remoteness depresses the skill premium and therefore incentives for human capital accumulation. Empirically, we exploit structural relationships from the model to demonstrate that countries with lower market access have lower levels of educational attainment. We also show that the world's most peripheral countries are becoming increasingly economically remote over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-541
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Economic geography
  • Human capital
  • International inequality
  • International trade


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