Countries’ Position in the International Trade Network According to Self-Sufficiency of Their Export Production And the Width of Their Trade Contacts

Tomasz Serwach, Piotr Gabrielczak


RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: The first objective of this paper is to evaluate countries’ position in the international trade network with regard to their two dimensions: their self-sufficiency and extent of their trade contacts. The second objective is to test the implications of the utilized criteria for the European Union member states.

THE RESEARCH PROBLEM AND METHODS: It was decided to classify countries using the data on foreign value added in trade and network characteristics (mainly – vertex centrality). Different categories of countries were identified and labelled according to that criteria. Later, correlation analysis was used to determine if the utilised criteria had any effect on countries’ welfare and shock resistance.

THE PROCESS OF ARGUMENTATION: In our opinion, countries that play an important role in international trade network should be important partners for numerous other countries. However, that criterion is not enough, as many less developed countries serve simply as assembly lines for value created elsewhere. Therefore we focused also on the share of imported value added to the total value of exported goods. We then tested if our notions translate to national welfare and export’s resistance to external shocks, such as the Great Trade Collapse of 2008/2009.

RESEARCH RESULTS: The classification concept was applied to a sample of EU member states displaying differences between Old and New member states. The analysis proved differences in welfare and stability of export performance during the Great Trade Collapse among countries with different levels of export and import contacts and intensity of relying on imported inputs for their own export production.

CONCLUSIONS, INNOVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: It is vital to diversify export and import contacts due to possible impact of those characteristics on welfare level and stability of trade flows. At the same time, the effects of engagement in international production networks creates a tradeoff: higher dependence on foreign inputs may stabilize trade dynamics at the expense of lowering GDP level.

Słowa kluczowe

Trade; network; value added; European Union

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