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Comparative Advantage, Complexity, and Volatility

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  • Pravin Krishna

    (Johns Hopkins University and NBER)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

Abstract

Less developed countries tend to experience higher output volatility, a fact that is in part explained by their specialization in more volatile sectors. This paper proposes theoretical explanations for this pattern of specialization -- with the complexity of the goods playing a central role. Speci cally, less developed countries with lower institutional ability to enforce contracts, or alternately, with low levels of human capital will specialize in less complex goods which are also characterized by higher levels of output volatility. We provide novel empirical evidence that less complex industries are indeed more volatile.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 632.

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Length: 39 pages
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Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:632

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Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/
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Keywords: Product Complexity; Comparative Advantage; Volatility;

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References

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  1. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2008. "The Risk Content of Exports: A Portfolio View of International Trade," Working Papers 581, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Chor, Davin, 2010. "Unpacking sources of comparative advantage: A quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 152-167, November.
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  9. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2009. "Trade Openness and Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 558-585, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Emiliano Magrini & Pierluigi Montalbano, 2012. "Trade openness and vulnerability to poverty: Vietnam in the long-run (1992-2008)," Working Paper Series 3512, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  2. Christopher Kurz & Mine Z. Senses, 2013. "Importing, Exporting And Firm-Level Employment Volatility," Working Papers 13-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Christopher Kurz & Mine Z. Senses, 2013. "Importing, exporting and firm-level employment volatility," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Sean Dougherty & Verónica C. Frisancho Robles & Kala Krishna, 2011. "Employment Protection Legislation and Plant-Level Productivity in India," NBER Working Papers 17693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pao-Li Chang & Chia-Hui Lu, 2011. "Risk and the Technology Content of FDI:A Dynamic Model," Working Papers 07-2011, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  6. Montalbano, Pierluigi, 2011. "Trade Openness and Developing Countries' Vulnerability: Concepts, Misconceptions, and Directions for Research," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1489-1502, September.

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