Employment and Export Specialization Patterns versus GDP Per Capita Performance - Unifying Approach
The underneath motivation of this study is based on the findings confirming that specialisation is non neutral on a country's growth performance. Consequently, it seems important to analyse the evolution of specialization patterns along the process of economic development. The scope of the paper is twofold: first of all, it aims at understanding if the evolution of employment specialisation is reflected in the same manner in trade specialisation patterns. Secondly, it explores the link between the degree of specialization on one side and cross country GDP per capita performance on the other. The paper challenges other empirical studies present in the specialization literature and contributes by presenting simultaneously the evolution of sectoral dispersion patterns emerging from employment and trade data. The sample of countries (32 world economies on different stages of economic development), the time span (1980 onwards) and the sectoral composition of the two datasets are retained constant. By comparing the results obtained with various inequality indicators, including a wide range of absolute and relative measures, we demonstrate the relevance of the methodological setting used for the assessment of economic activity dispersion. Next, we perform nonparametric and semiparametric estimations in order to reveal the `specialization curve' which describes the evolution of specialization along the development path. We find a support for nonlinear relationship between the two dimensions of specialization and GDP per capita levels, with a tendency towards despecialization in the initial phase of economic growth.
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