IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Three Decades of Italian Comparative Advantages


  • Luca De Benedictis


This paper explores the structure of Italian revealed comparative advantages (RCA), focusing on the export structure itself, on its changes over time and on its degree of persistence. The analysis is developed with the use of visual statistical tools and non-parametric statistical techniques that allow to estimate the empirical distribution of the Balassa (1965) index, and to track its dynamics during three decades, from the 1970s to the present. The main results of the analysis are that the structure of Italian RCA is highly persistent, but is changing; the structure is very different when it is examined at a macro-regional level; the distribution is not so similar to the one of the new industrialised countries, when it is examined at a high level of sectoral disaggregation. Finally, the persistence in the pattern of RCA appears to be positively related to the presence of industrial districts in export data disaggregated at the provincial level. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca De Benedictis, 2005. "Three Decades of Italian Comparative Advantages," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(11), pages 1679-1709, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:28:y:2005:i:11:p:1679-1709

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Trela, Irene & Whalley, John, 1990. "Global Effects of Developed Country Trade Restrictions on Textiles and Apparel," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1190-1205, December.
    2. Bark, Taeho & de Melo, Jaime, 1988. "Export Quota Allocations, Export Earnings, and Market Diversification," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 341-348, September.
    3. Krishna, Kala & Erzan, Refik & Tan, Ling Hui, 1994. "Rent Sharing in the Multi-fibre Arrangement: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Apparel Imports from Hong Kong," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 62-73, February.
    4. Faini, Riccardo & Heimler, Alberto, 1991. "The Quality of Production of Textiles and Clothing and the Completion of the Internal Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Faini, Riccardo & de Melo, Jaime & Takacs, Wendy, 1992. "The effects of EC-92 on the multi-fibre arrangement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 527-538, April.
    6. Erzan, Refik & Goto, Junichi & Holmes, Paula, 1989. "Effects of the multifibre arrangement on developing countries'trade : an empirical investigation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 297, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. João Amador & Sónia Cabral & José R. Maria, 2007. "International Trade Patterns over the Last Four Decades: How does Portugal Compare with other Cohesion Countries?," Working Papers w200714, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Francesco Serti & Chiara Tomasi & Antonello Zanfei, 2009. "The links between internationalization, skills and wages. The role of differences across firms and across partner countries," LEM Papers Series 2009/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. João Amador & Sónia Cabral & José R. Maria, 2007. "Export Specialization Over the Last Four Decades: How Does Portugal Compare With Other Cohesion Countries?," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    5. Michelangelo Vasta, 2009. "Italian export capacity in the long run perspective (1861-2009): a tortuous path to keep the position," Department of Economics University of Siena 572, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. João Amador & Sónia Cabral & José Maria, 2011. "A Simple Cross-Country Index of Trade Specialization," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 447-461, July.
    7. Pierluigi Montalbano & Silvia Nenci, 2011. "Are the Emerging Economies a Threat to the Italian Competitiveness?," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 4, December.
    8. Anna M. Falzoni & Lucia Tajoli, 2011. "Offshoring and the Skill Composition of Employment in the Italian Manufacturing Industries," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 121-153, January-M.
    9. Vito Amendolagine & Rosa Capolupo & Nadia Petragallo, 2010. "Export Status and Performance in a Panel of Italian Manufacturing Firms," SERIES 0027, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jan 2010.
    10. Stefano Elia & Lucia Piscitello & Sergio Mariotti, 2013. "Industrial Districts, Core Cities And Ownership Strategy Of Multinational Firms Investing In Italy," ERSA conference papers ersa13p27, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Giovanni Federico & Nikolaus Wolf, 2011. "Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 09, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Crafts, Nicolas & Magnani, Marco, 2011. "The Golden Age and the Second Globalization in Italy," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 61, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    13. Imbriani, Cesare & Morone, Piergiuseppe & Testa, Giuseppina, 2008. "Exporting quality: is it the right strategy for the Italian manufacturing sector?," MPRA Paper 13327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. João Amador & Sónia Cabral & José R. Maria, 2006. "Relative Export Structures and Vertical Specialization: A Simple Cross-Country Index," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    15. Michele Di Maio & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "The Italian anomaly in the evolution of international trade," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, July.
    16. Michele Di Maio & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "The Evolution of World Export Sophistication and the Italian Trade Anomaly," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(1), pages 135-174, January-F.
    17. Marco PLATANIA, 2014. "Trade Advantage Of Italian Industrial Districts:Persistence And Change," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(2).
    18. Sergio Mariotti & Lucia Piscitello & Stefano Elia, 2014. "Local Externalities and Ownership Choices in Foreign Acquisitions by Multinational Enterprises," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 90(2), pages 187-211, April.
    19. Laura Dell'Agostino, 2017. "Italy’S Participation In International Supply And Production Networks Using Value Added Trade Data," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0228, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:28:y:2005:i:11:p:1679-1709. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.