Discussion Papers

What Can Massive Mobile Phone Data Tell Us about International Trade? The Case of Spain

PUBLISHED: February 2018


This paper studies the existing relationship between international mobile phone calls and international trade for the case of Spain, showing that it is possible to build an explanatory model with a high level of correlation between both categories of indicators. The paper further evaluates the use of “massive data” in predictive economic models and provides a review of research in this field. It has been demonstrated than when “massive data” is applied to predictive models, they can offer a higher degree of accuracy than when using traditional approaches. The application to the case of Spain shows that it is possible to anticipate international trade flows by using massive mobile phone calls data. This fact opens a wide field for applied research in international trade both for academia and policy makers.

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