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Abstract

We analyse the evolving pattern of Hungary's agri-food trade using recently developed empirical procedures based on the classic Balassa index and its symmetric transformation. The extent of trade specialisation exhibits a declining trend; Hungary lost comparative advantage for a number of product groups over the 1990s. The indices of specialisation have also tended to converge. For particular product groups, the picture is mixed: indices are reasonably stable for product groups with comparative disadvantage, but those with weak to strong comparative advantage show significant variation. The results reinforce the finding of a general decrease in specialisation, but do not support the idea of self-reinforcing mechanisms, emphasised strongly in much of the endogenous growth and trade literature.

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