European Productivity, Innovation and Competitiveness: The Case of Italy

24 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2014

See all articles by Andrew Tiffin

Andrew Tiffin

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: May 2014


In Italy, price-based competitiveness measures are not always an accurate predictor of trade outcomes. This paper offers a more comprehensive assessment of Italian competitiveness, focusing on the role of innovation and the evolution of Italy’s export market share. Overall, Italy maintains a high-quality export mix, and the adaptability of small-scale specialized firms is still a source of strength. But, small firm size is becoming less of an asset, and even the most innovative sectors are weighed down by the structural barriers that have depressed productivity more broadly. Italy’s future competitiveness will depend on full implementation of a comprehensive structural-reform agenda.

Keywords: Global competitiveness, Italy, Exports, Productivity, Labor costs, shift share analysis, CMSA, export growth, export performance, exporters, reer, unit labor costs, world exports, export quality, export competitiveness, export unit, export share, export sector, trade flows, exporting firms, financial crisis, export sectors, market exporters, share of world exports, export market share, export data, export shares, export prices, global exports, export base, total exports, open economy macroeconomics, recession, export growth rate, movement of export, exporting country, export industries, gross exports, export industry

JEL Classification: F14, F41, O30, O31

Suggested Citation

Tiffin, Andrew, European Productivity, Innovation and Competitiveness: The Case of Italy (May 2014). IMF Working Paper No. 14/79, Available at SSRN:

Andrew Tiffin (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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