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Marconi, Daniela
Rolli, Valeria
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Research paper / UNU-WIDER 2008.81
During the last two decades a number of emerging economies have become deeply engaged in technology-intensive production. This has been reflected in their international trade specialization shifting from labour-intensive goods towards capital-intensive ones, and in rapid productivity gains across all manufacturing activities. The paper investigates for a sample of sixteen emerging countries, the linkages between the pattern of revealed comparative advantages (RCAs), captured by a modified version of the Lafay index of international trade specialization, and the competitiveness structure of the domestic manufacturing sector, measured by a set of industry and country-specific variables. Positive and large RCAs are found to be associated with low unit labour costs in both low-technology (high labour-intensive) and medium- or high-tech sectors. On the other hand, domestic accumulation of physical capital is associated with positive and large RCAs in medium- or high technology sectors. The international disadvantage (negative RCAs) in technology-intensive production tends to deepen for countries with low human capital, whereas it diminishes for countries with large domestic markets importing technology through foreign capital goods.
revealed comparative advantages
technological up-grading
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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