Vertical specialization across the world: A relative measure

Publication Type: 
Volume: 
20
Number: 
3
Page Numbers: 
267-280
Month/Season: 
Published On: 
2009

This article investigates the dynamics and the international distribution of vertical specialization (VS) - the use of imported inputs to produce goods that are afterwards exported. We propose a relative measure of VS-based trade that combines information from Input-Output matrices and international trade data, producing results for a large sample of countries with a detailed product breakdown. We illustrate this measure by showing the evolution of VS activities at the world level over the 1967-2005 period. The results are consistent with partial evidence existing in the literature, pointing to a substantial increase of VS in high-technology products and in East Asia.