The article describes the evolving pattern of agri-food trading in Central European countries, using recently developed empirical procedures based on the classic Balassa index and a symmetrical transformation of it. The degree of trade specialization shows a declining trend. Central European countries have been losing their comparative advantage in a number of product groups. Their indices of specialization have also tended to converge, although they display greater variation in certain product groups. They are stable for product groups showing a comparative disadvantage, but product groups for which these countries have a weak to strong comparative advantage show significant variation. The findings back the idea that there is a general decrease in specialization, but they do not support the notion of self-reinforcing mechanisms that has been emphasized strongly in much literature on endogenous growth and trade.
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