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Trade Barriers in Services and Competitive Strengths in the Austrian Service Sector - An Analysis at the Detailed Sector Level


  • Yvonne Wolfmayr



This study provides a thourough and detailed analysis of the competitiveness of the Austrian service sectors. It combines several industry classifications reflecting different structural features and international regulatory regimes that might be relevant for a sector?s export potential and international competitiveness. These features are the skill and factor intensity, the intrinsic tradability and different regulatory regimes in international trade. For the first time this study applies a newly developed taxonomy of services which represents the different degrees of openness to services trade as reflected by the willingness of countries to submit full or partial commitments under the GATS. The analysis found a clear dominance of activities characterized by unfavourable sector characteristics in terms of skills and factor inputs. Furthermore, the structural change towards high-skilled labour intensive and knowledge intensive service sectors was found to be rather slow. At the detailed sector level, the analysis highlighted "consultancy, legal, accounting, book-keeping and market research services", the "renting of machinery and equipment sector", as well as "engineering, architectural activities and technical testing and analysis" as the most promising fields of activity in the group of high-skilled sectors already facing a relatively liberal international trade regime. The results were less favourable for the group of computer services. Within the group of sectors facing medium regulated trade regimes the R&D sector exhibited a very dynamic development paired with a good, but deteriorating competitive position. Insurance services were found to hold a weak and strongly deteriorating competitive advantage in terms of relative unit labour costs. At the same time the productivity gap to some of the European countries was found to be extremely wide. The growth performance of financial services which face the most regulated internationel trade regime was weak as was the competitive position.

Suggested Citation

  • Yvonne Wolfmayr, 2008. "Trade Barriers in Services and Competitive Strengths in the Austrian Service Sector - An Analysis at the Detailed Sector Level," FIW Research Reports series I-007, FIW.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsr:ecbook:2008:i:i-007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Conway & Véronique Janod & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2005. "Product Market Regulation in OECD Countries: 1998 to 2003," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 419, OECD Publishing.
    2. Michael Peneder, 2003. "Industry Classifications: Aim, Scope and Techniques," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 109-129, March.
    3. Peneder, Michael, 2003. "Industrial structure and aggregate growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 427-448, December.
    4. Philippa Dee & Kevin Hanslow, 2002. "Multilateral liberalisation of services trade," International Trade 0207002, EconWPA.
    5. Michael Peneder, 2005. "Creating Industry Classifications by Statistical Cluster Analysis," WIFO Working Papers 257, WIFO.
    6. Gernot Hutschenreiter & Michael Peneder, 1997. "Austria's "Technology Gap" in Foreign Trade," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 70(2), pages 103-114, February.
    7. Stephen S. Golub, 2003. "Measures of Restrictions on Inward Foreign Direct Investment for OECD Countries," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(1), pages 85-116.
    8. Nora Dihel & Blanka Kalinova, 2004. "Services Barriers and their Economic Impact: Examples of Banking and Telecommunications Services in Selected Transition Economies," OECD Trade Policy Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
    9. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Steve Golub & Dana Hajkova & Daniel Mirza & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2003. "Policies and International Integration: Influences on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 359, OECD Publishing.
    10. Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2001. "Regulation in Services: OECD Patterns and Economic Implications," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 287, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vakulchuk Roman & Irnazarov Farrukh & Alexander Libman, 2012. "Liberalization of Trade in Services in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan: Analysis of Formal and Informal Barriers," EERC Working Paper Series 12/06e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    2. Michael Böheim, 2010. "Competition Policy in the Wake of the Economic Crisis," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 15(4), pages 349-363, December.

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