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International specialization models in Latin America: the case of Argentina


  • Paola Caselli

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Zaghini

    () (Bank of Italy)


The paper compares the Argentine specialization model with that of the other major Latin American countries. Given the lack of production data at disaggregate level, we rely on trade flow information from the WTA Statistics Canada database (3-digit SITC classification), available for most Latin American countries for a rather long time span (1980-2000). Our analysis, based on the Lafay Index of international specialization, shows that Argentina concentrates its comparative advantages in raw materials, agricultural and food products and exhibits, at the same time, serious deficiencies in the production of manufactures. This specialization pattern has remained remarkably stable over the last two decades, in spite of the major reforms implemented in many different fields. These features are shared with the other major Latin American countries, with the notable exception of Mexico, whose comparative advantages have changed dramatically in the same period, from raw materials (essentially oil) towards manufactures. Moreover, the products in which Argentina is specialized are among those for which world demand growth is structurally lower; this could eventually lead to a decreasing weight of Argentina in international markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Caselli & Andrea Zaghini, 2005. "International specialization models in Latin America: the case of Argentina," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 558, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_558_05

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matteo Bugamelli, 2001. "Il modello di specializzazione internazionale dell'Italia e dei principali paesi europei: omogeneit� e convergenza," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 402, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Romer, David & Cyrus, Teresa, 1995. "Trade and Growth in East Asian Countries: Cause and Effect?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233408, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
    3. Dorrucci, Ettore & Firpo, Stefano & Mongelli, Francesco Paolo & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2002. "European integration: what lessons for other regions? The case of Latin America," Working Paper Series 0185, European Central Bank.
    4. Ricardo J.Caballero, 2001. "Macroeconomic volatility in Latin America: a view and three case studies," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 28(1 Year 20), pages 5-52, June.
    5. Andrea Brasili & Paolo Epifani & Rodolfo Helg, 1999. "On the dynamics of trade patterns," LIUC Papers in Economics 61, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
    6. James E. Rauch & Diana Weinhold, 1999. "Openness, Specialization, and Productivity Growth in Less Developed Countries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1009-1027, August.
    7. Redding, Stephen, 2002. "Specialization dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 299-334, December.
    8. Proudman, James & Redding, Stephen, 2000. "Evolving Patterns of International Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 373-396, August.
    9. Chiara Bentivogli & Paola Monti, 2001. "International Transmission Via Trade Links: Theoretically Consistent Indicators of Interdependence for Latin America and South-East Asia," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 410, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Finicelli & Massimo Sbracia & Andrea Zaghini, 2011. "A disaggregated analysis of the export performance of some industrial and emerging countries," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 93-113, April.
    2. Andrea Zaghini, 2006. "Commercial Specialisation in the Countries of Central-Eastern Europe," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, July.
    3. Andrea Zaghini, 2005. "Evolution of trade patterns in the new EU member states," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 13(4), pages 629-658, October.
    4. Platania, Marco & Rapisarda, P. & Rizzo, M., 2015. "Italian Trade Specialization: Persistence and Change in Regional Agri-Food Production," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 7(4), December.

    More about this item


    International trade; specialization model; revealed comparative advantages;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production

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