Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows

Han Ping, Luke Davin CHOR, Singapore Management University
Pol Antras
Thibault Fally
Russell Hillbery


We propose two distinct approaches to the measurement of industry upstreamness (or average distance from final use) and show that they yield an equivalent measure. Furthermore, we provide two additional interpretations of this measure, one of them related to the concept of forward linkages in Input-Output analysis. On the empirical side, we construct this measure for 426 industries using the 2002 US Input-Output Tables. We also verify the stability of upstreamness across countries in the OECD STAN database, albeit with a more aggregated industry classification. Finally, we present an application that explores the determinants of the average upstreamness of exports at the country level using trade flows for 2002.