Economic integration, similarity and convergence in the EU and CEECs trade structures
In this paper we look at similarity and convergence between the EU and four of the so-called ”accession countries” of Central and Eastern Europe in terms of trade patterns. We analyse the trade patterns of the Central and Eastern European countries by comparing them to those of the current members of the EU. In particular, this paper focuses on countries’ specialization as suppliers for the EU market. We evaluate the appropriateness of different classes of similarity indices, using rank correlation index and two distance metrics, the Euclidean index and the Bray-Curtis index. We examine the evolution of similarity along time - from 1989 to 2000 - considering both self-similarity (how the export structure of a EU member-to-be has changed with respect to the beginning of the transition process) and EU-similarity (if and how the export structure of a EU member-to-be has changed with respect to the EU export structure). Finally, we examine how the process of integration with the EU and its reflection in the increased relevance of processed trade influenced the CEECs’ current pattern of specialization.
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