Measuring international specialization
International Advances in Economic Research, 2001, vol. 7, issue 2, 173-183
Statistical indicators used to analyze international specialization are manifold. However, most of them do not measure exactly the intensity of revealed comparative advantages and do not distinguish it from other aspects such as trade performance. This paper surveys the available indicators, discriminating between trade specialization and productive specialization (the gap between domestic supply and demand). It is asserted that in order to describe the international specialization pattern of a country, it is enough to consider the product distribution of the elementary trade balances, normalized with respect to trade (trade specialization) or to internal demand (production specialization). Indeed, while the individual, normalized trade balances are only performance indicators, deviations from their average correctly measure the intensity of specialization. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2001
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