Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 665–695 | Cite as

European countries’ competitiveness and productive performance evolution: unraveling the complexity in a heterogeneity context

  • Areti Gkypali
  • Kostas Kounetas
  • Kostas TsekourasEmail author
Regular Article


This paper is developed around two major arguments. First, the European Country Specific Industrial Structures (CSIS) technology gap defined in a metafrontier framework, captures the productive performance of the examined European CSIS conditional on the country-specificities, and therefore mirrors the micro-component of country competitiveness. Second, the evolution patterns of technology gaps, incorporating a time varying and group specific path dependence process as well as the features of the corresponding growth curve, reflect the contribution of the micro-component on the foundational country competitiveness. We use a balanced panel dataset that includes thirteen industries from seventeen European countries industries covering an 8 year period and employ a two stage approach. First, we employ a metafrontier framework for the estimation of productive performance and, at a second stage, we adopt and further develop a Growth Mixture Autoregressive Latent Trajectory model. This empirical strategy allows for the identification of heterogeneous groups with respect to the evolution patterns and for the consideration of group specific and time varying path dependence of European CSIS technology gaps evolution patterns. Empirical findings confirm the existence of two distinct groups that, over time, become more divergent but also more concentrated around their center. Finally, empirical evidence suggests that the micro component of foundational competitiveness, captured by CSIS technology gaps evolution patterns, exerts a differential impact on EU country overall foundational competitiveness.


Technology heterogeneity Foundational competitiveness Growth mixture autoregressive latent trajectory Group specific and time varying path dependence European countries 

JEL classification

C1 L6 L9 O4 



We owe special thanks to the Editors and two anonymous referees for their insightful comments and suggestions. The paper has benefited from Dr. Nikos Chatzistamoulou who has provided excellent research assistance in a previous stage. We would like also to thank the participants of the Workshop “Explaining Economic Change”, 12 November 2014, Sapienza Università di Roma and of the Conference “Governace of a Complex World”, 1-3 July 2015, Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis for their useful comments. The usual caveat applies: all remaining errors are the authors’ only.


This research has been co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund – ESF) and Greek National Funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) - Research Funding Program: Thales. Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund under Grant MIS 380232.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Areti Gkypali
    • 1
  • Kostas Kounetas
    • 2
  • Kostas Tsekouras
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Enterprise Research Centre, Warwick Business SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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