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Research Assistants

Direct-to-Consumer Trade

International trade in consumer goods typically involves a manufacturing company shipping a large volume of product, usually via a cargo ship, to an onshore warehouse. The warehouse then forwards the products to retail stores. In recent years, “direct-to-consumer” trade has emerged through the growth of online platforms. For such transactions, online orders bypass domestic warehousing by shipping from overseas directly to consumers through international package carriers (typically by air).

This project explores the consumer impacts of such trade. Does direct-to-consumer trade allow smaller exporters to participate in international trade? Is direct shipping more associated with “niche” products tailored to consumers’ tastes than mass-market designs that must satisfy many consumers? Are direct-to-consumer transactions more challenging to enforce regulatory compliance?

Requisite Skills and Qualifications:

  • JavaScript/Web Developer Tools
  • Familiarity with image detection algorithms
  • R or Python
  • Knowledge of Stata is a plus
  • Willingness to learn how online platforms manage customer orders