51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
This paper aims at providing some evidence of the short-term and long-term changes occurred in the Italian regional economies following the economic downturn. Our analysis will combine the use of structural and coincident indicators to describe the specialization of the region Emilia Romagna and its economic performance during the crisis. We adopt the Indicator of the Regional Economic Activity - IREA (Brasili, Benni 2006) to proxy the regional business cycle and give a timely picture of its economic performance till September 2010. The IRAE overcomes the deficit of the regional GDP - which is released with considerable delays by the national statistical authorities - by using a set of timely and high-frequency variables that tend to move in concert with the GDP. For our assessment of the regional specialization, we will proceed to the reconstruction of a pre-crisis scenario of specialization, using a set of structural indexes. Then, we will study the conjunctural changes occurred in the main sectors of specialization. We will complement our analysis by studying the evolution of the trade specialization through the index of "relative comparative advantages" (Lafay 1992). In the final section, we will compare the specialization models of Emilia-Romagna, Toscana and Lombardia and discuss their vulnerability to disruptive shocks in the short and long term.