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International Competitiveness of the Mediterranean Quartet:A Heterogeneous-Product Approach

  • Herman Z. Bennett
  • Ziga Zarnic

The real effective exchange rate (REER) is the most commonly used measure for assessing international competitiveness. We develop a methodology to estimate the REER that incorporates two distinctive elements that are not considered in the current literature and apply it to the Mediterranean Quartet (MQ) of Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, whose common pattern of real appreciation has created concern in policy and academic circles. The two elements that we add to the existing literature are (i) product heterogeneity when identifying each country's international competitors and their weights and (ii) a comprehensive treatment of services exports. Our refined measure suggests a modest reduction in the observed REER gap between the MQ countries and the other euro area countries. In particular, considering product heterogeneity and services exports implies a lower real appreciation from 1998 to 2006 on the order of 2-3 percent for all MQ countries. These are difference-in-difference estimates relative to the results obtained for the rest of the euro area countries using the same methodology.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/240.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/240
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  1. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  2. Menzie D. Chinn, 2005. "A Primer on Real Effective Exchange Rates: Determinants, Overvaluation, Trade Flows and Competitive Devaluation," NBER Working Papers 11521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. J. Peter Neary, 2006. "Measuring Competitiveness," IMF Working Papers 06/209, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Martine Durand & Jacques Simon & Colin Webb, 1992. "OECD's Indicators of International Trade and Competitiveness," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 120, OECD Publishing.
  5. Ian Marsh & Stephen Tokarick, 1996. "An assessment of three measures of competitiveness," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 132(4), pages 700-722, December.
  6. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1995. "Competitiveness and External Trade Performance of the French Manufacturing Industry," IMF Working Papers 95/137, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Tamim Bayoumi & Jaewoo Lee & Sarma Jayanthi, 2006. "New Rates from New Weights," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(2), pages 4.
  8. Paul E. Jensen, 2006. "Trade, Entry Barriers, and Home Market Effects," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 104-118, 02.
  9. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
  10. Valerie Cerra & Jarkko Soikkeli & Sweta C. Saxena, 2003. "How Competitive is Irish Manufacturing?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 173-193.
  11. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  12. Luca Buldorini & Stelios Makrydakis & Christian Thimann, 2002. "The effective exchange rates of the euro," Occasional Paper Series 02, European Central Bank.
  13. Mico Loretan, 2005. "Indexes of the foreign exchange value of the dollar," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Win, pages 1-8.
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