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Trade Specialization in the European Union and in Postcommunist European Countries


  • Imre FertÅ
  • Karoly Attila Soós


We describe the evolving pattern of European countries' trade using recently developed empirical procedures based on the classic Balassa index. The extent of trade specialization exhibits a declining trend; European countries have lost their comparative advantage in a number of product groups over time. The indices of specialization have also tended to converge. For particular product groups, the indices display greater variation. They are stable for product groups with comparative disadvantage, but product groups with weak-to-strong comparative advantage show significant variation over time. The results reinforce the finding of a general decrease in specialization but do not support the idea of self-reinforcing mechanisms, strongly emphasized in much of the endogenous growth and trade literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Imre FertÅ & Karoly Attila Soós, 2008. "Trade Specialization in the European Union and in Postcommunist European Countries," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 5-28, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:eaeuec:v:46:y:2008:i:3:p:5-28

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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksandra Parteka, 2013. "The evolving structure of Polish exports (1994−2010) – diversification of products and trade partners," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 44(5), pages 435-466.
    2. Ervani, Eva & Widodo, Tri & M. Purnawan, Edhie, 2018. "East Asia’s Pattern of Export Specialization: Does Indonesia Compete with Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore?," MPRA Paper 85259, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Roesmara Donna, Duddy & Widodo, Tri & Adiningsih, Sri, 2017. "Pattern of Comparative Advantage in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)," MPRA Paper 78109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. repec:kap:empiri:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10663-016-9317-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Silgoner, Maria & Steiner, Katharina & Wörz, Julia & Schitter, Christian, 2015. "Fishing in the same pool: Export strengths and competitiveness of China and Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe at the EU-15 market," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 68-83.
    6. Duddy, D, Roesmara & Tri, Widodo & Sri, Adiningsih, 2017. "Dynamics of Trade Specialization in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)," MPRA Paper 77439, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Camil-George G. STOENESCU, 2015. "The Evolution Of Romania’S Trade (2002 - 2014): Highlights And Structure," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 7, pages 527-535, April.

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