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The Technological Structure and Performance of Developing Country Manufactured Exports, 1985-98


  • Sanjaya Lall


This paper maps out the recent manufactured export patterns of developing countries, using a new and detailed classification by technological levels. It argues that export structures, being path-dependent and difficult to change, have important implications for growth and development. Low-technology products (which have the least beneficial learning and spillover effects) tend to grow the slowest, and technology-intensive products (which have the most beneficial effects) the fastest in world trade. East Asia dominates the developing country scene, with 70% of total manufactured exports, and its role rises over time. There is also high and rising concentration at the national level. The technological specialization of different regions and the leading exporters differ greatly, as do the strategies used to achieve competitiveness. Received trade theory cannot explain these patterns without considering learning processes and the policies used to promote them.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanjaya Lall, 2000. "The Technological Structure and Performance of Developing Country Manufactured Exports, 1985-98," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 337-369.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:28:y:2000:i:3:p:337-369
    DOI: 10.1080/713688318

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