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The revealed competitiveness of U.S. exports

  • Massimo Del Gatto
  • Filippo di Mauro
  • Joseph Gruber
  • Benjamin R. Mandel

The U.S. share of world merchandise exports has declined sharply over the last decade. Using data at the level of detailed industries, this paper analyzes the decline in U.S. share against the backdrop of alternative measures of the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. We document the following facts: (i) only a few industries contributed to the decline in any meaningful way, (ii) a large part of the drop was driven by the changing size of U.S. export industries and not the size of U.S. sales within those industries, (iii) in a gravity framework, the majority of the decline in the U.S. export share within industries was due to the declining U.S. share of world income, and (iv) in a computed structural measure of firm productivity, average U.S. export productivity has generally maintained its high level versus other countries over time. Overall, our analysis suggests that the dismal performance of the U.S. market share is not a sufficient statistic for competitiveness.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 1026.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1026
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  1. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Gregory Corcos & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion, 2009. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the “New” Gains from Trade," Working Papers 2009.115, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Natalie Chen & Dennis Novy, 2009. "International Trade Integration: A Disaggregated Approach," CEP Discussion Papers dp0908, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. 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.
  4. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Daria Taglioni & Filippo di Mauro, 2009. "The euro and the competitiveness of European firms," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 5-53, 01.
  5. John Whalley & Xian Xin, 2007. "Regionalization, Changes in Home Bias, and the Growth of World Trade," NBER Working Papers 13023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Thoenig, Mathias, 2005. "Make Trade not War?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5218, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Dennis Novy, 2011. "Gravity Redux: Measuring International Trade Costs with Panel Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 3616, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. University of Iowa & Michael E. Waugh, 2007. "International Trade and Income Differences," 2007 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  11. Harald Fadinger & Pablo Fleiss, 2011. "Trade and Sectoral Productivity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 958-989, 09.
  12. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2008. "The Erosion of Colonial Trade Linkages After Independence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6951, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. David S. Jacks & Christopher M. Meissner & Dennis Novy, 2008. "Trade Costs, 1870-2000," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 529-34, May.
  14. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "Non-Europe : the magnitude and causes of market fragmentation in the EU," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla99004a, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
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