Determinants of International Fragmentation of Production in the European Union
The last decades were characterized by large increases in world trade, not only in absolute terms, but also in relation to world GDP. This was in large parts caused by increasing exchanges of parts and components between countries as a consequence of international fragmentation of production. Apparently, greater competition especially from the Newly Industrializing and Post-Communist Economies prompted firms in ‘high-wage’ countries to exploit international factor price differences in order to increase their international competitiveness. However, theory predicts that, beside factor price differences, vertical disintegration of production should be driven by a multitude of additional factors. Against this background, the present paper reveals empirical evidence on parts and components trade as an indicator for international fragmentation of production in the European Union. On the basis of a panel data approach, the main explanatory factors for international fragmentation of production are determined. The results show that, although their influence can not be neglected, factor price differences are only one out of many causes for shifting production to or sourcing components from foreign countries.
Vertical Intra-industry Trade between EU and Accession Countries
The paper analyses vertical intra-industry trade between EU and Accession countries, and concentrates on two country-specific determinants: Differences in personal income distribution and in technology. Both determinants have a strong link to national policies and to cross-border investment flows. In contrast to most other studies, income distribution is not seen as time-invariant variable, but as changing over time. What is new is also that differences in technology are tested in comparison with cost advantages from capital/labour ratios. The study applies panel estimation techniques with GLS. Results show country-pair fixed effects to be of high relevance for explaining vertical intraindustry trade. In addition, bilateral differences in personal income distribution and their changes are positive related to vertical intra-industry trade in this special regional integration framework; hence, distributional effects of policies matter. Also, technology differences turn out to be positively correlated with vertical intra-industry trade. However, the cost variable (here: relative GDP per capita) shows no clear picture, particularly not in combination with the technology variable.
A Glimpse on Sectoral Convergence of Productivity Levels
This paper examines the presence of sectoral convergence of labor productivity between 14 OECD countries. Using the OECD International Sectoral Data Base (ISDB), the paper looks at the developments within 12 distinct sectors during the period 1970-1995. The change of the coefficients of variance suggests that there is strong sectoral convergence within most service sectors while the evidence of convergence for Manufacturing as well as for Communication is rather weak. These findings are in line with most studies undertaken on this subject so far. It is concluded that economic theories at hand to explain growth and convergence (or divergence respectively) are of different importance for the sectors concerned. While models of the New Growth Theory seemed to be useful to explain growth mechanisms within Manufacturing and Communication, traditional models seemed to apply to most other sectors.