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The Long Term Development of OECD Export Specialisation Patterns: De-specialisation and "Stickiness"

  • Bent Dalum
  • Keld Laursen
  • Gert Villumsen

The paper examines an issue related to the discussion of national specificity - whether the group of OECD countries are characterised by a high degree of stability of their export specialisation patterns at the country level or not. During a period of nearly three decades from 1965 to 1992, 20 OECD countries are examined. In addition we test whether the countries, have become more or less specialised in terms of trade specialisation in the period in question. In order to fulfill these aims we examine the sensitivity for, firstly; the level of aggregation, and secondly; the kind of statistical methodology applied. In this context we distinguish between specialisation (or de-specialisation) in trade patterns on the one hand, and divergence (or on the contrary convergence) in trade patterns on the other. A specialisation process refers to a process in which specialisation intra-country becomes more dispersed (and counter-wise for de-specialisation). On the contrary, 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). The results show that elements of 'stickiness' and incremental change are combined for what concerns the intra-country analysis. In addition there is a (however slow) tendency for countries to de-specialise in terms of exports. The sector-wise results display convergence both in terms of beta- and sigma -convergence.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 96-14.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:96-14
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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  1. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
  2. Archibugi, Daniele & Pianta, Mario, 1994. "Aggregate Convergence and Sectoral Specialization in Innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 17-33, March.
  3. Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  4. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  5. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988, August.
  6. Freeman, Chris, 1994. "The Economics of Technical Change," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 463-514, October.
  7. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 820, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Fagerberg, Jan, 1995. "User-Producer Interaction, Learning and Comparative Advantage," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 243-56, February.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  10. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
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