Advances in digital technology have driven large decreases in the costs of data transfer and telecommunications. There is a consequent increase in many kinds of international trade. One of the fastest-growing parts of this industry is “remote maintenance” whereby Indian companies debug software for companies in other parts of the world, often taking advantage of time zone differences to offer overnight service.
In the existing literature on trade theory, however, relatively few attempts have been made to address the theme of communications networks and the role of time zones. The main purpose of this book is to illustrate, with simple models of international trade, how the introduction of communications networks and the utilization of time zone differences can affect both the structure of international trade and world welfare. Other technological aspects of recent international trade (e.g., competition between international standards, the impact of switching costs on imported products’ introduction) are also examined.