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First Quarter 2016, 
Vol. 98, No. 1
Posted 2016-03-18

A Regional Look at U.S. International Trade

by Maximiliano A. Dvorkin and Hannah G. Shell

Economic activity at the state level varies greatly across U.S. regions, with different states specializing in the production of particular goods and services. This heterogeneity in activity informs the geographic distribution of U.S. imports and exports. Using U.S. Census Bureau foreign trade statistics, the authors examine the distribution of U.S. international trade at the state level, controlling for commodities and major trading partners. They find that trade activity varies greatly from state to state and identify two factors affecting this pattern—proximity to a trading partner and geographic location of industries. This analysis is descriptive but can be seen as a step toward understanding the local impact of globalization and asymmetric trade exposure across U.S. regions.