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Back on Track? A Macro–Micro Narrative of Italian Exports

Matteo Bugamelli, Silvia Fabiani (), Stefano Federico, Alberto Felettigh (), Claire Giordano () and Andrea Linarello ()
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Matteo Bugamelli: Banca d’Italia, DG Economics, Statistics and Research
Stefano Federico: Banca d’Italia, DG Economics, Statistics and Research

Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, 2018, vol. 4, issue 1, 1-31

Abstract: Abstract Using both macro and firm-level data, we provide an in-depth analysis of Italy’s goods exports relative to its three main trading partners (Germany, France and Spain) in order to gauge the causes of its relative underperformance prior to the 2008–2009 crisis and to assess whether the improvement observed since 2010 reflects cyclical or structural factors. We argue that Italy’s relatively unsatisfactory performance in the 2000s was the result of the interplay between the appreciation of its real effective exchange rate, its specialization in products that were particularly exposed to increasing competition from China, and the size distribution of its exporters, skewed towards small firms. In recent years signs of structural improvement have emerged, alongside cyclical factors, in connection with a shift in the specialization of exports towards sectors that are less exposed to competitive pressures; moreover, the selection process triggered by the exceptional difficulties encountered by micro and small firms both before and during the global financial crisis have plausibly strengthened the population of Italian exporters, making it structurally more resilient to exchange rate appreciations and more capable of keeping pace with external demand developments.

Keywords: Exports; Competitiveness; Specialization; Firm size; F14; F60; L11; L60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Back on Track? A micro-macro Narrative of Italian Exports (2018) Downloads
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