The Region and Trade: New Analytical Directions

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Edited by Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, College of Liberal Arts, and Peter Nijkamp

The effect of international trade has long been studied by economists, but until now, not as much has been researched on the impact of trade and its consequences within countries or regions.

Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, the Arthur J. Gosnell Professor of Economics at RIT, and Peter Nijkamp of VU University in Amsterdam, have co-edited The Region and Trade: New Analytical Directions.

“The book looks at a variety of issues, including connections between trade and environmental issues, such as trucks or trains and carbon emissions,” Batabyal said. “It also looks at what policy instruments may be available to influence the direction of trade, either increasing it or curtailing it.”

Twelve authors have written chapters discussing regional trade scenarios, such as the harvesting and sale of apples, cotton and tobacco within the U.S. and the sale of French wine to Germany.

By knowing the consequences to regional trade, more thought can go into decisions to continue or stop that trading. For example, in the Azores, trade may benefit some of the islands disproportionately than others, so how can that be changed to provide equity to the other islands?

“What happens if three or four states or countries get together to harmonize their policies?” Batabyal said. “The environment, the labor policy and immigration policies need to harmonize to produce those goods and services.”

He said the audience for the nearly 400-page book includes graduate students interested in research in this area, people who are interested in public policy or work in think tanks, and urban economics professionals.

He said the collaboration with Nijkamp, “one of the best known regional scientists in the world,” was a great experience. “He is more applied in his research focus than am I and hence this focus helps me keep my theoretical modeling grounded in reality.”

Reaction to the book has been positive, he said. “It has a good mix of theoretical and empirical chapters,” Batabyal said. “The empirical focus on certain regions has made some scholars aware of datasets that they were previously unaware of. And people have told me that they like the coverage we have provided of relatively unconventional topics, such as medical tourism in some regions of India.”