Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 319–367 | Cite as

Social networks and trade of services: modelling interregional flows with spatial and network autocorrelation effects

  • Tamara de la Mata
  • Carlos LlanoEmail author
Original Article


Recent literature on border effect has fostered research on informal barriers to trade and the role played by network dependencies. In relation to social networks, it has been shown that intensity of trade in goods is positively correlated with migration flows between pairs of countries/regions. In this article, we investigate whether such a relation also holds for interregional trade of services. We also consider whether interregional trade flows in services linked with tourism exhibit spatial and/or social network dependence. Conventional empirical gravity models assume the magnitude of bilateral flows between regions is independent of flows to/from regions located nearby in space, or flows to/from regions related through social/cultural/ethic network connections. With this aim, we provide estimates from a set of gravity models showing evidence of statistically significant spatial and network (demographic) dependence in the bilateral flows of the trade of services considered. The analysis has been applied to the Spanish intra- and interregional monetary flows of services from the accommodation, restaurants and travel agencies for the period 2000–2009, using alternative datasets for the migration stocks and definitions of network effects.


Social networks Gravity models Trade of services Internal tourism Bayesian spatial autoregressive regression model Spatial connectivity of origin–destination flows 

JEL Classification

C21 F12 F14 L83 R22 



The authors want to express their gratitude to James LeSage for his help on improving previous versions of this paper. We also want to thank the helpful comments received from Giovanni Peri, Vicente Blanes and the other participants in the INTECO meeting in 2010. This paper has been developed in the context of different research projects: TransporTrade S2007/HUM/497, (, funded by the Education Department of the Madrid Regional Government; the Project (ECO2010-21643/ECON) by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as the DESTINO Project (Ministerio de Fomento). T. de la Mata also acknowledges the fund received from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Programa FPI UAM). Carlos Llano also thanks the support received by the New York University Economics Department, where part of this work was also accomplished during an academic stay in the Fall semester 2012.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IESE Business SchoolBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Análisis Económico: Teoría Económica e Historia Económica and Instituto L.R. KleinUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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