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Competition among Cohesion and Accession Countries: Comparative Analysis of Specialization Within the EU Market


  • Dora Borbély

    () (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW))


European integration brings about major impulses for structural change. Analyzing the new competitive structure of countries and industries within the enlarged European Union is a great challenge for economic research. Focusing on the four cohesion countries, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, this paper presents the key shifts in sectoral developments and changing RCA indicators in exports to the EU15. Comparing the results with the according indicators for selected accession countries indicates that there is intense competition among the cohesion and the accession countries as suppliers for the EU15 market. Poland and the Czech Republic are competitors mainly of Portugal and Greece in lower and middle quality goods; in some of these product groups also Hungary is a potential competitor. In addition, Hungary faces competition from Spain and Ireland in some higher quality goods. Analyzing industries according to OECD taxonomy reveals that there is intense market participation of cohesion and accession countries in labour and resource intensive industries. However, most cohesion and accession countries have a strong comparative disadvantage on the EU15 market in science-based industries. In scale intensive industries accession countries are gaining competitive power and thus increasingly competing with cohesion countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Dora Borbély, 2004. "Competition among Cohesion and Accession Countries: Comparative Analysis of Specialization Within the EU Market," EIIW Discussion paper disbei122, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwu:eiiwdp:disbei122

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keld Laursen & Ina Drejer, 1999. "Do Inter-Sectoral Linkages Matter for International Export Specialisation?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 311-330.
    2. Keld Laursen, 1998. "How Structural Change Differs, and Why it Matters (for Economic Growth)," DRUID Working Papers 98-25, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Bent Dalum & Gert Villumsen, 1996. "Are OECD Export Specialisation Patterns 'Sticky'? Relations to the Convergence-Divergence Debate," DRUID Working Papers 96-3, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    4. Luca De Benedictis & Lucia Tajoli, 2003. "Economic integration, similarity and convergence in the EU and CEECs trade structures," KITeS Working Papers 148, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2003.
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    More about this item


    European Integration; Structural Change; Specialization; Foreign Trade Patterns;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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