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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page The Revealed Competitiveness of U.S. Exports
Massimo Del Gatto, Filippo de Mauro, Joseph Gruber, and Benjamin R. Mandel
2011-1026  (August 2011)

Abstract:  The U.S. share of world merchandise exports has declined sharply over the last decade. Using data at the level of detailed industries, this paper analyzes the decline in U.S. share against the backdrop of alternative measures of the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. We document the following facts: (i) only a few industries contributed to the decline in any meaningful way, (ii) a large part of the drop was driven by the changing size of U.S. export industries and not the size of U.S. sales within those industries, (iii) in a gravity framework, the majority of the decline in the U.S. export share within industries was due to the declining U.S. share of world income, and (iv) in a computed structural measure of firm productivity, average U.S. export productivity has generally maintained its high level versus other countries over time. Overall, our analysis suggests that the dismal performance of the U.S. market share is not a sufficient statistic for competitiveness.

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Trade competitiveness, gravity model, firm productivity

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Last update: August 15, 2011