A Trading Nation: analytical methodology note

An analytical methodology note produced to accompany the publication of A Trading Nation - a plan for growing Scotland's exports

1. Overview of the analytical framework


1. This methodology paper sets out the analytical methodology underlying the Scottish Government’s export plan ‘A Trading Nation: a plan for growing Scotland’s exports’.

2. ‘A Trading Nation’ is built on a series of data and analysis. More than 20 datasets were interrogated to build our understanding of current and future export growth opportunities. Analysis was conducted on current and future import demand across 100 countries, 66 goods sectors and 19 services sectors. Detailed firm-level data was also analysed to examine key exporting businesses to understand their strengths, size, location, workforce, products and services.

3. This analysis was shared and tested in a comprehensive consultation exercise with a large number of key business partners and stakeholders to ensure the conclusions drawn reflected their real world experience.

4. As a major part of this work the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser (OCEA) in the Scottish Government has developed new trade data tools for the exporting community that provide broader export intelligence and data for Scotland across a range of industry sectors. They include:

  • Scotland’s Export Performance Monitor, comprising detailed data analysis interrogating recent export history and trends. This has been published in a user-friendly digital format.[1] It is described in more detail in Section 3 of this note.
  • The Export Value Gap tool, which benchmarks Scotland’s export performance in market-sector combinations against competitor countries to better understand where Scotland’s exports are performing well against its peers and where opportunities for growth exist. This tool helped shape the Export Plan and the focus of activity and will continue to be used and shared with the wider export community. The tool is described in detail in Section 4.1 of this note.

5. This technical note is split into five sections. This section, Section 1, sets out an overview of the note. Section 2 presents the economic rationale underlying the plan, drawing on the relevant academic literature. Section 3 describes the data sources and sector classifications used. Section 4 presents the Export Value Gap tool, developed to support this plan, alongside other economic indicators used to drive country and sector choices. Finally, Section 5 sets out the analysis carried out on exporter characteristics.


Email: stefan.hoyte@gov.scot

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