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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: Bank of Italy
Andrea Linarello: Bank of Italy

No 399, Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) from Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area

Abstract: We provide an in-depth analysis of Italy’s export performance relative to the other main euro-area countries over the last two decades, using both macro and micro data. We argue that the relatively unsatisfactory performance of Italian goods exports until the eve of the 2008-09 crisis is the result of the interplay between the appreciation of the real effective exchange rate, the initial specialization in types of production that were particularly exposed to increasing competition from low-wage countries, and the size distribution of exporters, skewed towards small firms. Since 2010 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 and particularly effective in activating domestic value added. Moreover, the selection process triggered by the exceptional difficulties encountered by micro and small firms both before and during the global financial crisis might have structurally strengthened the population of Italian exporters, making it more resilient to negative shocks and more capable of keeping pace with external demand.

Keywords: exports; competitiveness; specialization; firm size (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F14 F60 L11 L60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eec and nep-int
Date: 2017-10
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