Structural determinants of global trade in graphic paper and pulp products.

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Both trade and production of graphic paper have decreased over the last three decades. While this general decrease can partially be attributed to increased prominence of information technology, the overall figure is devoid of context and thus of most of its meaning to global economy. In this study we aim to break this trend down across the geographical and temporal scope, across its supply-chain commodities and to find out what drives the global trade patterns. Econometric trade models focus on the trading countries and direct exports or imports but fail to consider the structural and the indirect trade relations. We take the approach of network analysis, where the emphasis is on the structure of trade and not on country-level descriptors.

We focus on 1995–2017 period as within it this decrease can be observed and assess the entire graphic paper and pulp supply chain, consisting out of printing and writing paper, mechanical wood pulp, chemical wood pulp, semichemical wood pulp, pulp made from fiber other than wood, recovered paper and paperboard. We employ descriptive statistical and network analysis, grouping and role analysis, and end with an inferential logistic regression quadratic assignment procedure model.

Results show that newsprint trade decline is mirrored in printing and writing paper and mechanical wood pulp. The trade network densities have remained generally stable throughout the observed period, but the topological proprieties of the individual product groups vary greatly. Although no stabile grouping of countries throughout the assessed period could be observed, role analysis shows that countries tend to trade within their continent, that European countries are at the core of the trade network, and that the structural shift of decline of the trade value is followed by increasing prominence of several Asian countries, such as China and Indonesia. The most important finding of the study is that internal trade effects such as reciprocity and transitivity are much more explanatory than classical effects used in trade models such as GDP per capita, geographical distance or forest endowment.


Shen, X. and Lovrić, M. 2022. Structural determinants of global trade in graphic paper and pulp products. Forest Policy and Economics 134, 102629.