Georg Schaur is an associate professor of economics, and his field of study is international trade. He has become known in that field for identifying and measuring unusual trade barriers. His newest paper on that topic, “Time as a Trade Barrier,” written with David Hummels of Purdue University, appears in the December 2013 issue of the American Economic Review, the top journal in economics.
Traditional trade barriers are things like tariffs and quotas. Tariffs increase the price of imports, which in turn reduces the volume of trade. Schaur and Hummels argue that shipping delays also reduce trade volume, in which case delays work like tariffs. They were able to uncover the amount US importers are willing to pay for a one-day-shorter shipping delay by observing their choices between slow ocean shipments and fast air shipments. They estimate that each additional day of delay is equivalent to a tariff between 0.6% and 2.1% of the value of the imported good, with larger values coming for manufacturing parts and components.
This research has been reported in the international news magazine The Economist as well as in the NBER Digest, the press outlet of the National Bureau of Economic Research.