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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. Harald Fadinger & Pablo Fleiss, 2008. "Trade and Sectoral Productivity," Working Papers ECARES 2008_005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer & John Ries, 2008. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Sciences Po publications 6951, Sciences Po.
  4. Corocs Gregory & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I P. Ottaviano, 2009. "Productivity and firm selection: quantifying the "new" gains from trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33249, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Dennis Novy, 2013. "Gravity redux: measuring international trade costs with panel data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Make Trade Not War?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 865-900.
  7. Natalie Chen & Dennis Novy, 2009. "International Trade Integration: A Disaggregated Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 2595, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2000. "Non-Europe: The magnitude and causes of market fragmentation in the EU," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 284-314, June.
  11. Michael E. Waugh, 2010. "International Trade and Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2093-2124, December.
  12. 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.
  13. M. Del Gatto & G. Mion & GIP. Ottaviano, 2007. "Trade Integration, Firm Selection and the Costs of Non-Europe," Working Paper CRENoS 200703, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  14. 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.
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