Journal Article

Vertical specialization and the changing nature of world trade


Abstract: A major feature of globalization has been the enormous increase in international flows of goods and services: countries are now trading much more with each other. In this article, the authors demonstrate the greater role vertical specialization is playing in these increased flows. Vertical specialization occurs when a country uses imported intermediate parts to create a good it later exports--that is, the country links sequentially with other countries to produce a final good. Deriving evidence from four case studies as well as OECD input-output tables, the authors reveal that vertical specialization has accounted for a large and increasing share of international trade over the last several decades. They also note that because the trends encouraging vertical specialization--lower trade barriers and improvements in transportation and communications technologies--are likely to continue, this type of international trade should become even more prevalent in the next century.

Keywords: International trade;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Economic Policy Review

Volume: 4

Issue: Jun

Pages: 79-99