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Clusters and Comparative Advantage: Implications for Industrial Policy

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  • Andrés Rodríguez-Clare

Abstract

Industrial agglomerations or 'clusters' arise in the presence of industry-specific and local externalities, also called Marshallian externalities. The standard argument is that such externalities may justify a policy of infant-industry protection to allow and encourage clusters to emerge. This paper explores that argument and shows that different policy implications emerge under a more realistic modeling of clusters. In particular, rather than distorting prices to promote clusters in 'advanced' sectors that may exhibit strong clustering possibilities, countries should focus instead on promoting clustering in current sectors that have demonstrated the strongest comparative advantage. Import substitution is not a proper way to achieve such a goal.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications with number 6830.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6830

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Keywords: Industrial Policy; WP-523;

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  1. Ronald Findlay, 1995. "Factor Proportions, Trade, and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061759, December.
  2. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  3. Antonio Ciccone & Kiminori Matsuyama, 1995. "Start-up costs and pecuniary externalities as barriers to economic development," Economics Working Papers 142, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Head, Charles Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2003. "The Empirics of Agglomeration and Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 1994. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 1015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Coordination failures and government policy: A model with applications to East Asia and Eastern Europe," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 1-22, February.
  8. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2004. "Agglomeration and economic geography," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 58, pages 2563-2608 Elsevier.
  9. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "Decreasing Costs in International Trade and Frank Graham's Argument for Protection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1243-68, September.
  10. Klenow, Peter J. & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2005. "Externalities and Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 817-861 Elsevier.
  11. Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 1996. "The division of labor and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 3-32, April.
  12. repec:fth:iniesr:430 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Baldwin, Robert E, 1969. "The Case against Infant-Industry Tariff Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 295-305, May/June.
  14. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  15. Altenburg, Tilman & Meyer-Stamer, JORG, 1999. "How to Promote Clusters: Policy Experiences from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1693-1713, September.
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