OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) leads OECD research on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Working Papers cover a broad range of topics including definition and measurement of science and technology indicators, global value chains, and research on policies to promote innovation. These technical or analytical working papers are prepared by staff or outside consultants to share early insights and elicit feedback.


The structure of steel exports

Changes in specialisation and the role of innovation

This paper examines changes in the steel-related export structure of the ten largest steelmaking economies between 2004 and 2014, in terms of the steel products exported and the market destination for those exports. To shed light on how exporters’ patterns of specialisation have changed in the period since 2004, indices of “Revealed Comparative Advantage” (RCA) are developed for a number of low, medium and high value-added steel products, indicating that export specialisation patterns may be changing noticeably as some steel producers in emerging economies move up the value chain and begin exporting more sophisticated steel products. The paper also assesses the role of innovation, as measured by patents, in determining the export structure of countries, and finds a positive correlation between innovation activity and export specialisation in higher value-added steel segments.


Keywords: comparative advantage, trade, patents
JEL: L6: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Manufacturing; F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade; O34: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
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