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The geography of production and sourcing in the weightless economy

Evidence from open-source software

Add to calendar 2023-11-14 14:00 2023-11-14 15:30 Europe/Rome The geography of production and sourcing in the weightless economy Online YYYY-MM-DD


14 November 2023

14:00 - 15:30 CET



Join Gábor Békés and discover the impact of geographic distance on collaboration and trade in the weightless economy

Trade costs, broadly defined, limit interaction between far-away economic agents and motivate them to concentrate in close proximity to one another. The gravity equation, which assigns a large role for geographic distance as a determinant of trade costs, has been remarkably successful in explaining patterns of international and international goods trade between firms, services trade, individual mobility and migration, and even scientific collaboration. It is unclear, however, why distance is relevant for sectors in which direct trade costs are zero. We study patterns of interaction when the good in question is 'weightless' using data from the open-source software industry. We find that importing other software packages as dependencies is at most weakly correlated with distance. By contrast, collaboration between different developers on the same piece of software is strongly decaying with distance. These results suggest that geography continues to matter for goods and services where collaboration is frequent and deep.

This event is co-organised with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and the Research Centre International Economics (FIW). 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101031139.

Any dissemination of the results of this event, reflect only the presenters' view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


Mia Saugman

Scientific Organiser(s):

Fabio Santeramo (European University Institute)

Mahdi Ghodsi (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies)


Gábor Békés (Central European University, KRTK Hungary and CEPR)


Ha Doan Thi Thanh (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia)

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