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Trade Specialization in the European Union and in Postcommunist European Countries

  • Imre Fertő
  • 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.

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Article provided by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. in its journal Eastern European Economics.

Volume (Year): 46 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 5-28

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Handle: RePEc:mes:eaeuec:v:46:y:2008:i:3:p:5-28
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