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THE DEATH OF DISTANCE REVISITED: CYBER-PLACE, PHYSICAL AND RELATIONAL PROXIMITIES

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  • The authors would like to thank Jos van Ommeren for his model estimation suggestions.

ABSTRACT

This paper studies the impact of physical distance and different relational proximity types on the formation of the Internet infrastructure. Although there is some anecdotal evidence on the “end of geography” effect of the Internet, the relationship between physical space and the Internet has not been yet scrutinized. Our paper builds upon recent studies in economic geography and relational proximities, and aims to study whether physical distance survives in virtual geography even after controlling for relational proximities. In order to do so, a unique and extensive database with geo-coded IP links and spatial interaction models with panel data specifications in combination with network analysis are utilized. Our results indicate that physical distance, but also different relational proximities, have a significant impact on the structure of the Internet infrastructure, highlighting the spatiality of the Internet.

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