Italian agri-food exports in the international arena
The aim of the paper is to highlight the positioning of the so-called Made in Italy agro-food exports in foreign markets considering global world tendencies as well as country specific trends. Besides, we aim at disentangling the role of product quality from price competition as a driver of competitive advantages. To these ends, the work combines two different methodologies, applied in three steps. First, we estimate the elasticities of Italian exports, with respect to world imports, Italian export prices and the competitors’ prices. Second, an index of the sophistication of exports’ flows that captures the role of quality in global competition is calculated. Third, the estimated elasticities are compared with the changes in the sophistication levels. Results allow for product-specific trends to stem out from the overall picture. Exports’ performance varies according to the type of product and to the degree of market completion. Although, the Made In Italy aggregate seems overall competitive, the analysis pinpoints some drawbacks in the positioning of some products in the world arena. Focus on wine and on olive oil, two major Italian exporting sectors, helps in understanding the potential of the joint methodology adopted.
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