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The Competitiveness Challenge: EU Member States in International Trade

Antje Hildebrandt () and Maria Silgoner
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Antje Hildebrandt: Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Foreign Research Division,

Monetary Policy & the Economy, 2007, issue 4, 67–88

Abstract: Given the increasing internationalization of trade, it is imperative for any country to ensure that its economy remains competitive. This study sheds light on trends in competitiveness in the EU Member States as made evident in an analysis of various indicators. Having lost their exchange rate autonomy by adopting the euro, the euro area countries face an additional constraint on national economic policy-making in the pursuit of competitiveness. In recent years, diverging unit labor cost developments have left their mark on competitiveness trends in individual euro area countries. Changes in competitiveness should not be interpreted in isolation, but rather against the background of a country’s level of economic development, as evidenced in particular by the EU Member States in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. For instance, long-term catching-up processes and equilibrium price adjustments have a major impact on price competitiveness indicators. The countries of this region managed to tap their potential for catching up and succeeded in withstanding international competition especially by raising product quality.

Keywords: indicators of international competitiveness; real effective exchange rate; unit labor costs; country comparison in the EU. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O52 O57 F15 P20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007
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