This paper surveys the recent literature on the Japanese distribution system to consider two propositions: first, that the system is inefficient, and second that prices of imported products tend to be higher in Japan than in other markets. Most of the literature demonstrates that the system is efficient. However, the efficiency has not necessarily resulted in high social welfare as consumers have had limited access to various product lines or paid high prices for some products. This paper examines the distribution system in the automobile industry to promote understanding about the impacts of the system on price differentials.
The paper estimates the impact of macroeconomic supply- and demand-side determinants of tourism, one of the largest components of services exports globally, and the backbone of many smaller economies. It applies the gravity model to a large dataset comprising the full universe of bilateral tourism flows spanning over a decade. The results show that the gravity model explains tourism flows better than goods trade for equivalent specifications. The elasticity of tourism with respect to GDP of the origin (importing) country is lower than for goods trade. Tourism flows respond strongly to changes in the destination country’s real exchange rate, along both extensive (tourist arrivals) and intensive (duration of stay) margins. OECD countries generally exhibit higher elasticties with respect to economic variables (GDPs of the two economies, real exchange rate, bilateral trade) due to the larger share of business travel. Tourism to small islands is less sensitive to changes in the country’s real exchange rate, but more susceptible to the introduction/removal of direct flights.