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Gaining and Losing Competitive Advantage

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  • Christian Bellak

    () (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.)

Abstract

Efficient policies to stimulate the competitiveness of firms require knowledge of future firm-strategies and a proper as-sessment of the location advantages of a country or region. Therefore, industry comparative advantage analysis needs to be complemented by firm competitive advantage analysis. This yields four hypotheses of firm strategies on the basis of the existing advantage combination. Detailed empirical analysis of a representative sample of Austrian manufacturing firms during 1990-2000 shows that changes in employment, value-added and exports are in line with the suggested de-velopment. Three of the 3-digit industries lost their advantages while seven industries gained advantages, yet overall in-dustry distribution has been remarkable stable over the four advantage combinations. In terms of number of firms, howe-ver, a large share (30%) of the total population shifts between advantage combinations even during short periods of time. The firm strategies outlined suggest a differentiated policy approach, yet the short-term dynamics revealed empirically imply a high potential for policy failure.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Bellak, 2003. "Gaining and Losing Competitive Advantage," Working Papers geewp34, Vienna University of Economics and Business Research Group: Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwgee:geewp34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lenn Gomes & Kannan Ramaswamy, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of the Form of the Relationship Between Multinationality and Performance," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(1), pages 173-187, March.
    2. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    3. M Krishna Erramilli & Sanjeev Agarwal & Seong-Soo Kim, 1997. "Are Firm-Specific Advantages Location-Specific Too?," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 28(4), pages 735-757, December.
    4. Jaideep Anand & Andrew Delios, 1997. "Location Specificity and the Transferability of Downstream Assets to Foreign Subsidiaries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 28(3), pages 579-603, September.
    5. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-471, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Comparative Advantage; Competitiveness; Austria; Manufacturing;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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