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The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations


  • C. A. Hidalgo
  • B. Klinger
  • A. -L. Barabasi
  • R. Hausmann


Economies grow by upgrading the type of products they produce and export. The technology, capital, institutions and skills needed to make such new products are more easily adapted from some products than others. We study the network of relatedness between products, or product space, finding that most upscale products are located in a densely connected core while lower income products occupy a less connected periphery. We show that countries tend to move to goods close to those they are currently specialized in, allowing nations located in more connected parts of the product space to upgrade their exports basket more quickly. Most countries can reach the core only if they jump over empirically infrequent distances in the product space. This may help explain why poor countries have trouble developing more competitive exports, failing to converge to the income levels of rich countries.

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  • C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:0708.2090

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hidalgo, Cesar A., 2010. "Country Diversification, Product Ubiquity, and Economic Divergence," Working Paper Series rwp10-045, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Arnelyn Abdon & Jesus Felipe, 2011. "The Product Space: What Does It Say About the Opportunities for Growth and Structural Transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_670, Levy Economics Institute.
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