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South Africa's export predicament

  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Bailey Klinger

Using South Africa as an example, this article explores how the structure of production affects export diversification and economic growth. We show that the lagging process of structural transformation is part of the explanation for stagnant exports per capita in South Africa over the past 40 years. This slow structural transformation is shown to be a consequence in part of the peripheral nature of South Africa's productive capabilities: the country is specialized in sectors intensive in highly specific factors of production that cannot be easily redeployed to other activities. Using this methodology, we examine the sectoral priorities of the South African Department of Trade and Industry and explore the policy implications of the country's orientation in the product space. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2008 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

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Article provided by The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in its journal Economics of Transition.

Volume (Year): 16 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 609-637

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Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:609-637
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  1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
  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. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hausmann, Ricardo & Klinger, Bailey, 2006. "Structural Transformation and Patterns of Comparative Advantage in the Product Space," Working Paper Series rwp06-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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