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Trends in Italy’s Nonprice Competitiveness

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  • Bogdan Lissovolik

Abstract

Italy's medium-term economic performance has raised "standard" competitiveness concerns as unit labor costs surged, and real export growth fell. But the recent economic upturn, low current account deficit, and robust nominal exports argue for less pessimism. An empirical analysis confirms the standard concerns, but also suggests that "residual" factors, which partly reflect nonprice economic restructuring, have supported Italy's real exports after 2005 (as in Germany but less so in France or Spain). An investigation of selected structural trends over the past decade offers some substantiation to Italy's "restructuring story," including quality upgrading, geographical trade diversification, and outsourcing. But sluggish services, low FDI, and modest "technological" upgrading indicate limits to Italy's restructuring.

Suggested Citation

  • Bogdan Lissovolik, 2008. "Trends in Italy’s Nonprice Competitiveness," IMF Working Papers 08/124, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/124
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephan Danninger & Fred Joutz, 2008. "What Explains Germany's Rebounding Export Market Share?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(4), pages 681-714, December.
    2. André Sapir, 2005. "Un modello obsoleto? Crescita e specializzone dell'economia italiana," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8122, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Ashoka Mody & Deniz O Igan & Stefania Fabrizio, 2007. "The Dynamics of Product Quality and International Competitiveness," IMF Working Papers 07/97, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Silvia Sgherri, 2005. "Long-Run Productivity Shifts and Cyclical Fluctuations; Evidence for Italy," IMF Working Papers 05/228, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Finger, J M & Kreinin, M E, 1979. "A Measure of 'Export Similarity' and Its Possible Uses," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 905-912, December.
    6. de Brouwer, Gordon & Ericsson, Neil R, 1998. "Modeling Inflation in Australia," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(4), pages 433-449, October.
    7. Matteo Bugamelli, 2007. "Prezzi delle esportazioni, qualità dei prodotti e caratteristiche di impresa: un'analisi su un campione di imprese italiane," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2007(3), pages 71-103.
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    Keywords

    Competition; Economic indicators; Export competitiveness; Exports; Italy; Competitiveness; restructuring; export growth; export performance; real exports; real export growth; export volumes;

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