Specialization Across Varieties and North-South Competition

45 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2008 Last revised: 11 Jan 2014

See all articles by Lionel Fontagne

Lionel Fontagne

University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne; Paris School of Economics; CEPII

Guillaume Gaulier

Banque de France

Soledad Zignago

Banque de France

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 31, 2007


North-South competition in quality: Analyzing a new database that makes it possible to disaggregate trade flows across many countries according to unit values, we show that international specialization in terms of quality within industries and product categories plays an important role in the dynamics of North-South competition. The different specialization of countries at different levels of development within products and across varieties is mirrored in the recent shifts in world market shares, which are very different across quality segments: the South is not gaining market share in high-value portions of trade pattern. In this respect Europe's specialization pattern appears to be different from that of the US and Japan, and may allow it to better resist the competitive pressure of the South.

Keywords: Product Trade, Export Unit Values, Vertical Differentiation

JEL Classification: F1, F4

Suggested Citation

Fontagne, Lionel and Gaulier, Guillaume and Zignago, Soledad, Specialization Across Varieties and North-South Competition (August 31, 2007). Economic Policy Vol. 23, No. 53, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1243622

Lionel Fontagne (Contact Author)

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Guillaume Gaulier

Banque de France ( email )


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