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Internationalization of service industries: a comparative approach

Listed author(s):
  • Juan R. Cuadrado Roura
  • Luis Rubalcaba Bermejo

This working paper explores service internationalisation trends including levels, growth rates, leadership and the relative position of service industries. The analysis draws upon the most recent available data and a comparative approach is developed that explores differences between countries, sectors and internationalisation modes. Given the heterogeneity of the service sector the internationalisation of service industries has different profiles, trends and dynamics. These are the main conclusions: The levels of tertiarisation are still modest in foreign direct investment, very low in international trade and high in mergers and acquisitions. In terms of the different modes of service internationalisation the evidence suggests a shift away from international trade to foreign direct investment and, above all, in the 1990s, from international trade and greenfield foreign direct investment to mergers and acquisitions. One of the reasons for this shift is the increasing maturing of key service markets. The European Union and United States dominate the global market in service trade (around 60%), despite the recently increasing importance of some Asian countries. Most European Union countries have positive trade balances in some specific services and possess comparative advantages in selected markets. International specialisation within service trade modes seems to be related to the uneven development of the service economy. Service internationalisation is being led by financial, transport and communication industries. These sectors are internationalising at levels that are similar in relative terms to those of the manufacturing sector.

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File Function: First version, 2001
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Paper provided by Instituto Universitario de Análisis Económico y Social in its series Working Papers with number 04/01.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2001
Handle: RePEc:uae:wpaper:0401
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  1. Sapir, André, 1991. "The Structure of Services in Europe: A Conceptual Framework," CEPR Discussion Papers 498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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