New Measures of Port Efficiency Using International Trade Data
NBER Working Paper No. 12052
As the clearinghouses for a major portion of the world's rapidly increasing international trade flows, ocean ports and the efficiency with which they process cargo have become an ever more important topic. Yet, there exist very little data that allows one to compare port efficiency measures of any kind across ports and, especially, over time. This paper provides a new statistical method of uncovering port efficiency measures using U.S. Census data on imports into U.S. ports. Unlike previous measures, this study's methodology can provide such estimates for a much broader sample of countries and years with little cost. Thus, such data can be used by future researchers to examine a myriad of new issues, including the evolution of port efficiencies over time and its effects on international trade flows and country-level growth.