International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI

Main research focus

Our core competence is the cross-country analysis of economic integration experiences. This certainly includes the positioning of CEE, SEE and CIS countries in the global economy. In the analysis of international trade and FDI we also go beyond our regional focus and take a global perspective on selected issues of international trade, competitiveness and global investment activities. Thematically our research focuses on global trade patterns and the dynamics of trade specialisation, foreign direct investment activities and international business organisation as well as the internationalisation of innovation and R&D activities.

New directions

With increasingly complex forms of international exchanges and the intensification of vertical trade specialisation the investigation of global and regional production networks has become a key area of our research. The tendency for ever more refined trade specialisation also makes us continue work on the gains from variety which involves the analysis of increasingly detailed product level trade data. With the emergence of international production networks and the ‘slicing’ of the value chain, firms also started to internationalise their R&D efforts. Tracking the internationalisation of R&D and international knowledge flows forms another pillar of our research in the field of international economics.
Following the availability of new databases our research has expanded into the empirical analysis of firms’ internationalisation activities based on firm and project level data.
Finally, the institute has also been building up capacity in trade policy modelling and evaluation with the country coverage being global in scope.


Research is based on large-scale international datasets which allow in-depth descriptive analysis as well as the application of state-of-the art econometric methods, computable general equilibrium models as well as Input-Output approaches.