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The impact of sectoral heterogeneities in economic growth and catching up: Empirical evidence for Latin American manufacturing industries

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  • Lavopa, Alejandro

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT)

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    Abstract

    Building on different strands of literature this paper proposes an approach to characterize the structural patterns followed by the manufacturing sector of Latin American largest economies (VArgentina, Brazil and Mexico) during the last decades. The main focus of this approach relies on the evolution of technological gaps with the world frontier. Measures of relative labour productivity with respect to the US (as a proxy for technological gaps) are used to identify industries with different degrees of modernity and to analyze their distribution in different points of time in order to establish stylized patterns in their structural trajectories. The empirical analysis provides evidence supporting the hypothesis that the economies of the region are characterized by high and persistent sectoral heterogeneities. Moreover, it suggests that the manufacturing sector of these economies had followed a trajectory of partial catching-up with structural polarization. In short, these economies are lagging behind at the aggregate manufacturing level, but show very heterogeneous trends within their own structures. While a small fraction of industries seems to be using technologies close to the frontier or has managed to achieve fast reductions in the technological gap, the remaining industries are far away from the technological frontier and keep lagging further behind.

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    File URL: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2011/wp2011-075.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 075.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011075

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    Keywords: Latin America; Manufacturing; Structural change; Catching-up;

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    1. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
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    4. Szirmai, Adam, 2009. "Industrialisation as an engine of growth in developing countries," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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    10. Timmer, Marcel P. & Szirmai, Adam, 2000. "Productivity growth in Asian manufacturing: the structural bonus hypothesis examined," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 371-392, December.
    11. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-75, September.
    12. Mulder, Nanno & Montout, Sylvie & Perez Lopes, Luis, 2002. "Brazil and Mexico's manufacturing performance in international perspective, 1970-1998," GGDC Research Memorandum 200252, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    13. Jan Fagerberg & Manuel Godinho, 2003. "Innovation and catching-up," Working Papers 24, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    14. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
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