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Structural Change in OECD Export Specialisation Patterns: de-specialisation and 'stickiness'


  • Bent Dalum
  • Keld Laursen
  • Gert Villumsen


This paper examines whether the OECD countries are characterised by a high degree of stability of their export specialisation patterns at the country level or not. Furthermore, we test whether the countries have become more or less specialised. In this context we distinguish between specialisation (or de-specialisation) in trade patterns on the one hand, and divergence (or, on the contrary, convergence) on the other. A specialisation process refers to a process in which specialisation intra-country becomes more dispersed (and counter-wise for de-specialisation). In contrast, a divergence process refers to a process in which countries become more different in terms of specialisation in a particular sector, across countries (and counter-wise for convergence). We examine the sensitivity for the level of aggregation, and we apply a period of nearly three decades from 1965 to 1992. Twenty OECD countries are considered. The intra-country results show that the national specialisation patterns are rather sticky, although there is a tendency for countries to de-specialise in the medium to long term. The sector-wise results display convergence both in terms of β-and σ-convergence. In conclusion, we discuss the results (de-specialisation in particular) in the context of economic integration, and furthermore we contrast the findings with similar exercises conducted on structural change in technological specialisation.

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  • Bent Dalum & Keld Laursen & Gert Villumsen, 1998. "Structural Change in OECD Export Specialisation Patterns: de-specialisation and 'stickiness'," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 423-443.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:12:y:1998:i:3:p:423-443
    DOI: 10.1080/02692179800000017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giovanni Dosi & Keith Pavitt & Luc Soete, 1990. "The Economics of Technical Change and International Trade," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1990, August.
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