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Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective

  • Giovanni Federico

    ()

    (European University Institute, Florence and Universit� di Pisa)

  • Nikolaus Wolf

    ()

    (Humboldt University Berlin and CEPR)

The history of Italy since her unification in 1861 reflects the two-way relationship between foreign trade and economic development. Its growth was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the country's integration with European and global commodity markets: foreign trade in the long run grew on average faster than the overall economy. Behind the dynamics of aggregate trade, Italy's comparative advantage changed fundamentally over the last 150 years. The composition of trade, in terms of both commodities imported and exported and in terms of trading partners, developed from a high concentration of a few trading partners and a handful of rather simple commodities into a wide diversification of trading partners and more sophisticated commodities. In this chapter we use a new long-term database on Italian foreign trade at a high level of disaggregation to document and analyze these changes. We will conclude with an assessment of Italy's prospects from a historical perspective.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 09.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_9
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  1. Alan V Deardorff, 2004. "Local Comparative Advantage: Trade Costs and the Pattern of Trade," Working Papers 500, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Michele Di Maio & Federico Tamagni, 2008. "The Evolution of World Export Sophistication and the Italian Trade Anomaly," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(1), pages 135-174, January-F.
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  7. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  8. Luca De Benedictis, 2005. "Three Decades of Italian Comparative Advantages," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(11), pages 1679-1709, November.
  9. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zaghini, Andrea, 2003. "Trade advantages and specialisation dynamics in acceding countries," Working Paper Series 0249, European Central Bank.
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  12. James Harrigan & Haiyan Deng, 2008. "China's Local Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 13963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Krueger, Anne O, 1998. "Why Trade Liberalisation Is Good for Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1513-22, September.
  14. repec:umd:umdeco:rodriguez9901 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Keld Laursen, 1998. "Revealed Comparative Advantage and the Alternatives as Measures of International Specialisation," DRUID Working Papers 98-30, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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