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Italy’s Price Competitiveness: An Empirical Assessment Through Export Elasticities

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  • Walter Paternesi Meloni

    (Roma Tre University)

Abstract

Italy’s recent upward trend in the real effective exchange rate (REER) combined with a remarkable decreasing market share has instigated a lively economic debate on the relevance of price factors in shaping export performances. In parallel, concerns about Italy’s weak export competitiveness have been raised in connection to the Eurozone imbalance issue. In this framework, the aim of this paper is to investigate empirically the role of price competitiveness in determining Italy’s export flows, namely the sensitivity of exports to REER dynamics. For this purpose, we undertake an econometric investigation (a cointegration analysis from 1994 to 2014 to estimate jointly the long-run export elasticities to the foreign demand and the REER) conducted on the basis of five price and cost competitiveness indicators (i.e., alternative deflator-based REERs), also taking into account the role of non-price competitiveness factors. Moreover, we disentangle the export elasticities by clustering intra-Eurozone and global flows (both in values and in volumes). Besides assessing the remarkable importance of price competitiveness (the long-run export elasticity to export price-based REER is about − 1.3 for Eurozone flows and − 1.7 for global flows), some robustness tests confirm the absence of significant changes in the price elasticity of exports with regard to the two sub-periods pinpointed by the inception of the Euro. Furthermore, we conduct a sectoral study to determine whether some industries outperform others in terms of export elasticities. The sectoral breakdown indicates that manufacturing and machinery, which together account for 75% of Italian exports, show the highest REER elasticities, albeit with a sizeable impact of non-price factors (particularly for exports of manufactured goods towards the Eurozone). We conclude by drawing some implications from our findings for the current policy debates.

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  • Walter Paternesi Meloni, 2018. "Italy’s Price Competitiveness: An Empirical Assessment Through Export Elasticities," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(3), pages 421-462, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:italej:v:4:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s40797-018-0075-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s40797-018-0075-5
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    Cited by:

    1. Sara Labrar & Adil El Marhoum, 2020. "Morocco’s External Performance: An Empirical Assessment Of Export Competitiveness Determinants," International Journal of Business and Social Research, LAR Center Press, vol. 10(4), pages 22-35, April.
    2. Baccaro, Lucio & D'Antoni, Massimo, 2020. "Has the "external constraint" contributed to Italy's stagnation? A critical event analysis," MPIfG Discussion Paper 20/9, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    3. Walter Paternesi Meloni, 2021. "The price vs. non-price competitiveness conundrum: a post-Keynesian comparative political economy analysis," Working Papers PKWP2109, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    4. Sascha Keil, 2021. "The Challenging Estimation Of Trade Elasticities:Tackling The Inconclusive Eurozone Evidence," Chemnitz Economic Papers 042, Department of Economics, Chemnitz University of Technology, revised May 2021.
    5. Sergio Cesaratto & Gennaro Zezza, 2018. "What went wrong with Italy, and what the country should now fight for in Europe," FMM Working Paper 37-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price competitiveness; Cointegration; Italy’s exports; REER; Trade elasticities; Eurozone imbalances;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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