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Structural Changes in International Trade - Cause, Impact and Response

  • Jan Fagerberg

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

The character of the structural changes in international trade, and the possibility that these might impact countries differently, has been a matter of great concern for many observers from the 1950s onwards. The view that all sectors do not offer the same prospects for growth, and that the specialisation pattern of a country in international trade therefore matters for its economic performance, has also been widespread. This paper analyses the structural changes in international trade between 1965 and 1990, the impact of this on the OECD countries and the ability of these countries to adapt to these changes. It is shown that trade in commodities from industries characterised by high R&D outlays grew much faster than other trade. But also some goods from industries that do little R&D displayed high growth (for example clothing). In general, these changes were most favourable for the large and medium-sized countries of the OECD area (high income). Small countries, and low-income countries, benefited much less. There were striking differences across countries in the ability to adapt to these changes. The large rich countries (USA, Japan) and some of the low-income countries showed good adaptability, while many others failed. This holds, for instance, for all the small, high-income countries. It is shown that this to a large extent may be explained by the failure of these countries to carve out sustainable niches for themselves in electronics, the most fast-growing part of world trade during this period.

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File URL: http://www.tik.uio.no/InnoWP/archive/wpno547-1996.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo in its series Working Papers Archives with number 1996547.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Mar 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tik:wparch:1996547
Note: A different version was published as NUPI working paper no.547, March 1996
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and economic growth: the perspective of the new growth theories," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9908, CEPREMAP.
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  3. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  4. Fagerberg, Jan, 1996. "Technology and Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 39-51, Autumn.
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  8. Archibugi, Daniele & Pianta, Mario, 1994. "Aggregate Convergence and Sectoral Specialization in Innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 17-33, March.
  9. Jan Fagerberg, 1996. "Competitiveness, Scale and R&D," Working Papers Archives 1996545, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  10. Jan Fagerberg (ed.), 2002. "Technology, Growth and Competitiveness," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2577.
  11. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  12. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1970. "The Case for Regional Policies," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 17(3), pages 337-48, November.
  13. Jan Fagerberg, 1987. "A technology gap approach to why growth rates differ," Working Papers Archives 1987002, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  14. Jan Fagerberg & Gunnar Sollie, 1987. "The method of constant market shares analysis reconsidered," Working Papers Archives 1987001, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  15. Gittleman, Maury B & Wolff, Edward N, 1995. "R&D Activity and Cross-Country Growth Comparisons," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 189-207, February.
  16. Jan Fagerberg & Manuel Godinho, 2003. "Innovation and catching-up," Working Papers 24, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  17. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2001. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199241071, March.
  18. Jan Fagerberg, 1999. "The Economic Challenge for Europe: Adapting to Innovation-Based Growth," Working Papers 2, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  19. Bent Dalum & Keld Laursen & Gert Villumsen, 1998. "Structural Change in OECD Export Specialisation Patterns: de-specialisation and 'stickiness'," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 423-443.
  20. Dalum, Bent & Laursen, Keld & Verspagen, Bart, 1999. "Does Specialization Matter for Growth?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 267-88, June.
  21. Bas ter Weel & L. Soete & B. Verspagen, 2010. "Systems of innovation," CPB Discussion Paper 138, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    • Soete, Luc & Verspagen, Bart & Weel, Bas ter, 2009. "Systems of Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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