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Back on track? A macro-micro narrative of Italian exports

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Listed:
  • Matteo Bugamelli

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Silvia Fabiani

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Stefano Federico

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Alberto Felettigh

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Claire Giordano

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Linarello

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

We provide an in-depth analysis of Italy’s export performance relative to the other main euro-area countries over the last two decades, using both macro and micro data. We argue that the relatively unsatisfactory performance of Italian goods exports until the eve of the 2008-09 crisis is the result of the interplay between the appreciation of the real effective exchange rate, the initial specialization in types of production that were particularly exposed to increasing competition from low-wage countries, and the size distribution of exporters, skewed towards small firms. Since 2010 signs of structural improvement have emerged, alongside cyclical factors, in connection with a shift in the specialization of exports towards sectors that are less exposed to competitive pressures and particularly effective in activating domestic value added. Moreover, the selection process triggered by the exceptional difficulties encountered by micro and small firms both before and during the global financial crisis might have structurally strengthened the population of Italian exporters, making it more resilient to negative shocks and more capable of keeping pace with external demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Bugamelli & Silvia Fabiani & Stefano Federico & Alberto Felettigh & Claire Giordano & Andrea Linarello, 2017. "Back on track? A macro-micro narrative of Italian exports," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 399, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_399_17
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Felettigh & Claire Giordano, 2018. "Rethinking prices and markets underlying price-competitiveness indicators," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 447, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Silvia Fabiani & Alberto Felettigh & Claire Giordano & Roberto Torrini, 2019. "Making room for new competitors. A comparative perspective on Italy’s exports in the euro-area market," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 530, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Monica Amici & Emmanuele Bobbio & Roberto Torrini, 2018. "Patterns of Convergence (Divergence) in the Euro Area: Profitability Versus Cost and Price Indicators," 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 367-384, November.
    4. Claire Giordano, 2020. "Goods exports and soft export indicators: is a disconnect under way?," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 553, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Pietro Cova & Lisa Rodano, 2019. "Relative price dynamics in the Euro area: where do we stand?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1226, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Giordano, Claire & Lopez-Garcia, Paloma, 2019. "Firm heterogeneity and trade in EU countries: a cross-country analysis," Occasional Paper Series 225, European Central Bank.
    7. Silvia Del Prete & Stefano Federico, 2019. "Does trust among banks matter for bilateral trade? Evidence from shocks in the interbank market," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1217, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Matteo Bugamelli & Francesca Lotti & Monica Amici & Emanuela Ciapanna & Fabrizio Colonna & Francesco D’Amuri & Silvia Giacomelli & Andrea Linarello & Francesco Manaresi & Giuliana Palumbo & Filippo Sc, 2018. "Productivity growth in Italy: a tale of a slow-motion change," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    Keywords

    exports; competitiveness; specialization; firm size;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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