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How rich countries became rich and why poor countries remain poor: It's the economic structure…duh!

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  • Felipe, Jesus
  • Kumar, Utsav
  • Abdon, Arnelyn
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    Abstract

    Becoming a rich country requires being able to produce and export commodities that embody certain characteristics. We classify 779 commodities (exported) according to two dimensions: (1) sophistication (measured by the income content of the products exported) and (2) connectivity to other products (measured by how easy it is to ‘jump’ into other potential exports). We identify 88 “good” products (highly sophisticated and well connected products), 93 “bad” products (unsophisticated and poorly connected products), and 598 “middle” products. Then, we categorize 154 countries into four groups according to the export share of each of these three types of products. There are 21 countries whose export baskets contain at least 15% of “good” products; 41 countries with a significant share of relatively sophisticated and well connected products; 50 countries with a significant share of relatively unsophisticated and not well connected products; and 42 countries whose export basket contains at least 15% of “bad” products.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Japan and the World Economy.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2014)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 46-58

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:japwor:v:29:y:2014:i:c:p:46-58

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505557

    Related research

    Keywords: Bad product; Good product; Proximity; Sophistication; Structural transformation;

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    References

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    1. John Sutton, 2001. "Rich trades, scarce capabilities : industrial development revisited," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2037, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    3. John Sutton, 2001. "Rich Trades, Scarce Capabilities: Industrial Development Revisited," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    4. Cesar A. Hidalgo & Ricardo Hausmann, 2009. "The Building Blocks of Economic Complexity," Papers 0909.3890, arXiv.org.
    5. Jesus Felipe & Arnelyn Abdon & Utsav Kumar, 2012. "Tracking the Middle-income Trap: What Is It, Who Is in It, and Why?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_715, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Lall, Sanjaya, 1992. "Technological capabilities and industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 165-186, February.
    7. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
    8. Sanjaya Lall, 2000. "The Technological Structure and Performance of Developing Country Manufactured Exports, 1985-98," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 337-369.
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