Trade specialisation of European regions

26 July 2016

Today, wiiw and the Lower Saxony Institute for Economic Research (NIW) published a joint study on identifying revealed comparative advantages in an EU regional context.

The aim of the study was to develop a methodology allowing to analyse trade characteristics and revealed comparative advantages of European regions.

Identifying industries in which a region realises a strong trade specialisation plays a twofold role in industrial and regional policy-making. Firstly, identifying successful structures at the industry-region level helps to improve the understanding of micro- and meso-foundations for competitiveness as well as scope and cases for policy intervention. Secondly, knowledge of the spatial distribution of competitive industries and required location factors is necessary for differentiated perspectives on future economic development and the choice of policy instruments. The study applies descriptive, econometric and case study analysis to identify regional patterns of trade specialisation, as well as region- and industry-specific factors related to success in international markets. Based on the results conclusions for EU regional and smart specialisation policies are developed.

The study represents the final report of a collaborative research project undertaken by both institutes in collaboration with the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of the European Commission.

The corresponding NIW publication is available here.