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Comparative Advantage, Complexity and Volatility

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  • Pravin Krishna
  • Andrei A. Levchenko

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. Specifically, less developed countries with low levels of human capital, or alternately, with lower institutional ability to enforce contracts, 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14965.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Krishna, Pravin & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2013. "Comparative advantage, complexity, and volatility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 314-329.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14965

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  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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