Costs, knowledge and market structure: understanding the puzzle of international competitiveness with Greek export data

Bournakis, Ioannis ORCID logoORCID: (2014) Costs, knowledge and market structure: understanding the puzzle of international competitiveness with Greek export data. International Review of Applied Economics, 28 (2) . pp. 240-269. ISSN 0269-2171 [Article] (doi:10.1080/02692171.2013.858669)

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This is an analysis of the sources of international competitiveness with Greek export data for the period 1987–2007. The framework used in the study incorporates factors that do not only represent cost competitiveness but also shed light on the determinants of economic complexity. Economic complexity is the amount of knowledge capabilities embodied in exports that indicates – as a source of comparative advantage – the ability for product differentiation and product variety. The empirical analysis shows that industries benefit substantially from their own R&D activity but, owing to weak economic complexity in the country, there are no cross-industry knowledge spillovers (both at national and international level) that can benefit export activity. Greek exports were found to be sensitive to relative unit labour costs (RULC) but the most important export component of this index is relative labour productivity and not labour cost. Not all institutional arrangements have the same impact on exports, for example high trade union density might harm competitiveness but this factor is uncorrelated with R&D investment. In the view of these findings, Greece’s route to international competitiveness should be primarily by improving its economic complexity, making sure that the country specialises in productive activities that enrich its knowledge capabilities as well as increase the potential of knowledge transfer.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): exports, competitiveness; relative unit labour costs, economic complexity, knowledge accumulation, knowledge spillovers, manufacturing industries, Greece
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Economics
Item ID: 13158
Notes on copyright: This is an original manuscript / preprint of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Review of Applied Economics on 04/10/2013, available online:
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Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2014 13:04
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 23:47

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