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Spatially Integrated Social Science: Chapter 20
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Spatial Interaction Models of International Telecommunication Flows
Jean-Michel Guldmann

Spatial interaction modeling is used to analyze international telephone flows, in conjunction with a new data set for 4137 country-to-country routes, involving 103 origin and 204 destination countries. These data are matched with several country-related technological and socio-economic data, making up a very rich set of exploratory variables, that allows for analyses of the effects of telecommunication equipment, including Internet access, trade and tourism, income per capita, geographical distance, isolation, and contiguity, language, cultural, religious, political, and geographical commonalities, and the international spatial structure. The results point to both the stimulation and substitution effects of new technologies (Internet, ISDN), suggesting that electronic mail via the Internet may substitute for international telephone flows. The results also underscore the critical role of a country’s level of telecommunication equipment, size of the business sector, exports and imports, and tourists attraction, the importance of membership in trade, political, and cultural groups, the impacts of language and religion commonalities, and, of course, the role of geography, as measured by great-circle distances, contiguity, time zone differences, island status, and spatial structure variables.


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