IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Product diversification, relative specialisation and economic development: Import–export analysis

  • Parteka, Aleksandra
  • Tamberi, Massimo

This paper contributes to trade diversification literature by comparing changes in relative (i.e. assessed in comparison with world patterns) heterogeneity of import and export structures in the process of economic development. In particular, by focusing on the diversification of imports, we add a missing piece to already analysed export trends. We use highly disaggregated trade statistics (4963 product lines) for 163 countries (1988–2010) and find that, despite differences in levels (imports being typically more diversified than exports, particularly at lower stages of economic development), they follow a similar path of evolution in the development process. Progressing relative diversification (despecialisation) of both import and export structures accompanies economic growth, while re-specialisation is plausible only in case of few specific countries (very rich, small ones, abundant in oil/petrol). We also show that even though while diversifying countries increase the degree of import–export similarity in terms of product categories, imported and exported goods differ in terms of within-product characteristics.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2013)
Issue (Month): PA ()
Pages: 121-135

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:38:y:2013:i:pa:p:121-135
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2013.09.011
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Markusen, James R., 2013. "Putting per-capita income back into trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 255-265.
  2. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," NBER Working Papers 7852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "The World Income Distribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David E. Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization And The Gains From Variety," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 327, Econometric Society.
  5. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  6. Mary Amiti & Jozef G Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence from Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Aleksandra PARTEKA & Massimo TAMBERI, 2011. "Export Diversification and Development - Empirical Assessment," Working Papers 359, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  8. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  9. Koren, Miklós & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2005. "Volatility and Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5307, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Asier Minondo, 2011. "Does comparative advantage explain countries’ diversification level?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 147(3), pages 507-526, September.
  11. Wacziarg, Romain & Imbs, Jean, 2000. "Stages of Diversification," Research Papers 1653, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  12. Céline CARRERE & Olivier CADOT & Vanessa STRAUSS-KHAN & Madina KUKENOVA, 2009. "OECD Imports: Diversification and quality search," Working Papers 200909, CERDI.
  13. Olivier CADOT & Céline CARRERE & Vanessa STRAUSS-KHAN, 2009. "Trade Diversification, Income, and Growth: What Do We Know?," Working Papers 200931, CERDI.
  14. Mary Amiti, 1997. "Specialisation Patterns in Europe," CEP Discussion Papers dp0363, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Tarasov, Alexander, 2010. "Per Capita Income, Market Access Costs, and Trade Volumes," Discussion Papers in Economics 11494, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  16. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  17. Olivier CADOT & Céline CARRERE & Vanessa STRAUSS-KHAN, 2007. "Export Diversification:What’s behind the Hump?," Working Papers 200724, CERDI.
  18. Frank Bickenbach & Eckhardt Bode & Christiane Krieger-Boden, 2013. "Closing the gap between absolute and relative measures of localization, concentration or specialization," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(3), pages 465-479, 08.
  19. Esteban Jaimovich, 2012. "Import Diversification along the Growth Path," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 242, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  20. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767.
  21. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  22. David L. Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2008. "International pricing in a generalized model of ideal variety," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Miho Shirotori & Bolormaa Tumurchudur & Olivier Cadot, 2010. "Revealed Factor Intensity Indices at the Product Level," UNCTAD Blue Series Papers 44, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  24. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Comparative Advantage and Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 2809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Aleksandra PARTEKA, 2007. "Employment and Export Specialization Patterns versus GDP Per Capita Performance - Unifying Approach," Working Papers 302, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  26. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  27. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  28. Manuel R. Agosin & Roberto Alvarez & Claudio Bravo-Ortega, 2011. "Determinants of Export Diversificationaround the World: 1962 - 2000," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 605, Central Bank of Chile.
  29. Paul M. Romer, 1993. "New Goods, Old Theory, and the Welfare Costs of Trade Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 4452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  31. Aleksandra PARTEKA & Massimo TAMBERI, 2012. "Relative product diversification in the course of economic development: import-export analysis," Departmental Working Papers 2012-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  32. Manuel Agosin & Roberto Álvarez & Claudio Bravo-Ortega & Esteban Puentes, 2010. "Determinants of exports diversifications around the world: 1962 - 2000," Working Papers wp309, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  33. Cohen-Cole,E.B. & Durlauf,S.N. & Rondina,G., 2005. "Nonlinearities in growth : from evidence to policy," Working papers 9, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  34. Nicole Palan, 2010. "Measurement of Specialization – The Choice of Indices," FIW Working Paper series 062, FIW.
  35. Fernandes, Ana M., 2003. "Trade policy, trade volumes, and plant-level productivity in Colombian manufacturing industries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3064, The World Bank.
  36. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  37. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  38. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Trade," NBER Working Papers 8712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Luca Benedictis & Marco Gallegati & Massimo Tamberi, 2009. "Overall trade specialization and economic development: countries diversify," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(1), pages 37-55, April.
  40. Dutt, Pushan & Mihov, Ilian & Van Zandt, Timothy, 2011. "Does WTO Matter for the Extensive and the Intensive Margins of Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  41. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 253-66, April.
  42. Richard Newfarmer & William Shaw & Peter Walkenhorst, 2009. "Breaking Into New Markets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2616, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:38:y:2013:i:pa:p:121-135. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.