No. 207 - The Italian technology balance of payments

The technology balance of payments concerns external transactions in disembodied technology. Since the introduction in Italy of a new data collection system based mainly on direct reporting by enterprises, credits and debits tend to be appreciably greater than they had been under the old system based on bank settlements; the overall deficit increases, especially in sales or other transfers of patents, royalties and other licences. The new data and the revision of the time series from 1992 are presented for the first time in this paper. Italy's trade in disembodied technology remains relatively low as a percentage of GDP by comparison with most of the advanced economies. Its deficit is concentrated with the advanced economies, while it has surpluses vis-à-vis non-EU countries in general and some developing countries in particular. More than half of exports can be ascribed to manufacturing enterprises, whose position is in balance; the deficit, instead, derives from the service sector, with the exception of professional services (notably architecture and engineering). Finally, trade in disembodied technology is concentrated in a limited number of multinational enterprises.

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