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How Important is Intra-Industry Trade in Australia's Rapid Trade Growth?


  • Jayant Menon
  • Peter B. Dixon


Empirical work on intra-industry trade (IIT) is almost 30 years old. Initial research sought to identify if IIT was a significant share of total trade (TT). The Grubel-Lloyd (GL) index was widely used for this purpose, since it provides a relatively reliable measure of the importance of IIT at any point in time. Interest has since shifted to the changing importance of IIT over time, particularly with the emergence of regional trading blocks. Previous researchers have used movements in the GL index to infer the importance of IIT over time. This is not only vague, but can be misleading. In this paper, we show how to measure the contributions of net trade (NT) and IIT to the growth in TT. To understand changes in IIT over time, we also derive the contributions of imports and exports to the growth in TT, NT and IIT. All our formulas are illustrated with data for 205 Australian manufacturing industries defined at the 3- and 4-digit level of the SITC for the periods 1981 to 1986 and 1986 to 1991. The results show that while almost all the growth in TT was driven by NT between 1981 and 1986, IIT contributes almost half the sharp growth in TT between 1986 and 1991. The dominant contribution of NT between 1981 and 1986 was mainly a result of import growth, while the increase in the contribution of IIT between 1986 and 1991 was almost solely due to export growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayant Menon & Peter B. Dixon, 1994. "How Important is Intra-Industry Trade in Australia's Rapid Trade Growth?," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-110, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:cop:wpaper:g-110

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harris, Richard, 1984. "Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of Small Open Economies with Scale Economies and Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1016-1032, December.
    2. Yung Chul Park & Won-Am Park, 1991. "Changing Japanese Trade Patterns and the East Asian NICs," NBER Chapters,in: Trade with Japan: Has the Door Opened Wider?, pages 85-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Finger, J M, 1975. "Trade Overlap and Intra-Industry Trade," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 581-589, December.
    4. Peter A. Petri, 1991. "Market Structure, Comparative Advantage, and Japanese Trade under the Strong Yen," NBER Chapters,in: Trade with Japan: Has the Door Opened Wider?, pages 51-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Caves, Richard E, 1981. "Intra-Industry Trade and Market Structure in the Industrial Countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 203-223, July.
    6. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-973, October.
    7. Greenaway, David & Milner, Chris R, 1983. "On the Measurement of Intra-Industry Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 900-908, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Menon, Jayant, 1997. "Japan's Intraindustry Trade Dynamics," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 123-142, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements


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