Sophistication and Performance of Italian Agri‐food Exports

Anna Carbone, Roberto Henke


Nonprice competition is increasingly important in world food markets. Recently, the expression ‘export sophistication’ has been introduced in the economic literature to refer to a wide set of attributes that increase product value. An index has been proposed to measure sophistication in an indirect way through the per capita GDP of exporting countries (Lall et al., 2006; Haussmann et al., 2007).
The paper applies the sophistication measure to the Italian food export sector, moving from an analysis of trends and performance of Italian food exports. An original way to disentangle different components in the temporal variation of the sophistication index is also proposed.
Results show that the sophistication index offers original insights on recent trends in world food exports and with respect to Italian core food exports.


international trade; sophistication; Italy; food sector; quality

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ISSN 1869-6945


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