Para lá dos preços

Uma entrada no Vox que mistura um título sonante com um dos temas mais áridos da macroeconomia: a aparente irrelevância da taxa de câmbio real na determinação da performance das exportações. The cost-competitiveness obsession, por Konstantins Benkovskis e Julia Woerz. Sobre o mesmo tema, ler: Paradoxos do equilíbrio externo e It seems rather disturbing)

Relying solely on price factors (REERs) in the assessment of a country’s competitiveness may lead to wrong policy conclusions as this reduces the policy focus to pure price competitiveness and rules out any change in a country’s competitive position due to other factors such as enhanced quality or better labelling of its export products. Putting the focus on such factors, our analysis suggests that the role of the exchange rate in explaining China’s competitive position may have been overstated and the dominant role in boosting China’s presence in the global market belongs among others to improvements in non-price factors.

Our results may also indirectly indicate the importance of the globalisation and outsourcing process. The nice clustering – developed countries losing and emerging countries gaining non-price competitiveness – can be partially attributed to the outsourcing of higher-quality goods production from developed to emerging countries. The Czech Republic is a well-known ‘final-assembly’ destination for the German car industry that may partially explain the positive contribution of non-price factors in its exports whereby the increase in relative quality is likely to have been imported via intermediates to some extent. This would support the finding of Koopman et al. (2014) who report that a significant share of domestic value added returns home to advanced countries via imports from emerging countries for Western EU, the US, and Japan. This requires shifting the focus of the analysis to from trade flows to value added when assessing the external performance of countries.

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