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The structural determinants of the US competitiveness in the last decades: a "trade-revealing" analysis

  • Del Gatto, Massimo
  • di Mauro, Filippo
  • Gruber, Joseph
  • Mandel, Benjamin

We analyze the decline in the U.S. share of world merchandise exports against the backdrop of a model-based measure of competitiveness. We preliminarily use constant market share analysis and gravity estimations to show that the majority of the decline in export shares can be associated with a declining share of world income, suggesting that the dismal performance of the U.S. market share is not a sufficient statistic for competitiveness. We then derive a computable measure of country-sector specific real marginal costs (i.e. competitiveness) which, insofar it is inferred from actual trade ows, is referred to as 'revealed'. Brought to the data, this measure reveals that most U.S. manufacturing industries are losing momentum relative to their main competitors, as we find U.S. revealed marginal costs to grow by more than 38% on average. At the sectoral level, the "Machinery" industry is the most critical. JEL Classification: F12, F17, F19

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1443.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121443
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  1. Andrea Finicelli & Patrizio Pagano & Massimo Sbracia, 2009. "Trade-Revealed TFP," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 729, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Michael E. Waugh, 2010. "International Trade and Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2093-2124, December.
  3. Gregory Corocs & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & G.I.P. Ottaviano, 2009. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the "New" Gains from Trade," SERC Discussion Papers 0028, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  4. Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Make Trade Not War?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 865-900.
  5. Dennis Novy, 2012. "Gravity Redux: Measuring International Trade Costs with Panel Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp1114, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2006. "Trade Integration, Firm Selection and the Costs of Non-Europe," Development Working Papers 218, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  7. B. Mandel & J. Gruber & F. Di Mauro & M. Del Gatto, 2012. "The “Revealed” Competitiveness of U.S. Exports," Working Paper CRENoS 201232, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  8. Harald Fadinger & Pablo Fleiss, 2011. "Trade and Sectoral Productivity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 958-989, 09.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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