The local network structure of international trade relations offers a new dimension for understanding a country’s competitive position vis-á-vis its trade partners and competitors, supporting economic policy analysis. We introduce two network measures that can be used to analyse comparative advantage and price competitiveness, called relative export density and export price assortativity, respectively. The novelty of these measures is that they consider the embedding of a country into its local trade environment. They are computed based on unit values and sector concentrations at a highly granular level and they help to uncover general patterns of the global organisation of international trade. Countries have a strong tendency to arrange their exports to form local monopolies by focusing on products and markets, usually - but not exclusively - where they have a price advantage. Price (dis)assortativity turns out to be an important factor for export growth, even after controlling for a large set of macroeconomic and structural determinants. This effect is particularly strong for catching-up CESEE countries, with potential implications for industrial policy. The relationship between the two export assortativity metrics for different groups of countries and for varying technological content of exports indicates a tipping point in a country’s development from price-driven competition to non-price factors.
external imbalances global financial crisis international capital flows monetary