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