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Economic Complexity in Panama: Assessing Opportunities for Productive Diversification

Author

Listed:
  • Hausmann, Ricardo

    (Harvard University)

  • Morales, Jose Ramon

    (Harvard University)

  • Santos, Miguel Angel

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

The economy of Panama has thrived for more than a decade, based on a modern service sector on the activities surrounding the Canal. Panama has inserted its economy into global value chains, providing competitive services in logistics, ship handling, financial intermediation, insurance, communication and trade. The expansion of the modern service sector required significant non-residential construction, including office buildings, commercial outlets, warehouses, and even shopping malls. Large public infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the Canal, the Metro, and Tocumen airport, have provided an additional drive and paved the road for productive diversification. But productive diversification does not spread randomly. A country diversifies towards activities that demand similar capacities than the ones already in place. Current capabilities and know-how can be recombined and redeployed into new, adjacent activities, of higher value added. This report identifies productive capabilities already in place in Panama, as signaled by the variety and ubiquity of products and services that is already able to manufacture and provide competitively. Once there, we move on to identifying opportunities for productive diversification based on technological proximity. As a result, we provide a roadmap for potential diversification opportunities both at the national and sub-national level.

Suggested Citation

  • Hausmann, Ricardo & Morales, Jose Ramon & Santos, Miguel Angel, 2016. "Economic Complexity in Panama: Assessing Opportunities for Productive Diversification," Working Paper Series rwp16-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp16-046
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    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=1453
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hidalgo, Cesar A. & Stock, Daniel P. & Yildirim, Muhammed A., 2014. "Implied Comparative Advantage," Working Paper Series rwp14-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Bahar, Dany & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hidalgo, Cesar A., 2014. "Neighbors and the evolution of the comparative advantage of nations: Evidence of international knowledge diffusion?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 111-123.
    3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Obach, Juan & Santos, Miquel Angel, 2016. "Special Economic Zones in Panama: A Critical Assessment," Working Paper Series rwp16-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
    5. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584-584.
    6. Ricardo Hausmann & Juan Obach & Miguel Angel Santos, 2016. "Special Economic Zones in Panama: Technology Spillovers from a Labor Market Perspective," CID Working Papers 326, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. Neffke, Frank M.H. & Otto, Anne & Weyh, Antje, 2017. "Inter-industry labor flows," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 275-292.
    8. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    9. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    10. Ricardo Hausmann & Bailey Klinger, 2007. "The Structure of the Product Space and the Evolution of Comparative Advantage," CID Working Papers 146, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Espinoza, Luis & Santos, Miguel Angel, 2016. "Shifting Gears: A Growth Diagnostic of Panama," Working Paper Series rwp16-045, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Obach, Juan & Santos, Miquel Angel, 2016. "Special Economic Zones in Panama: A Critical Assessment," Working Paper Series rwp16-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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