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On the relations between technological opportunity, specialization and growth


  • Ana Urraca Ruiz
  • C. Frederico Rocha


This paper aims to discuss the role of technological specialization in economic growth. Economic literature has stressed that there are theoretical reasons and empirical results to associate trade specialization in high-tech products with growth. There are also theoretical reasons to associate technological specialization in dynamic technological opportunity fields („correct specialization?) with rhythms of technological advance, which is not usually confirmed by empirical studies. Using data from 1985 to 2005 for 38 countries, this paper shows that there is no evidence to confirm that a certain technological specialization implies technical change irreversibility. The paper also confirms the contribution of „correct technological? specialization to growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Urraca Ruiz & C. Frederico Rocha, 2011. "On the relations between technological opportunity, specialization and growth," Working Papers 13-2011, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
  • Handle: RePEc:fea:wpaper:13-2011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Montobbio, Fabio & Rampa, Francesco, 2005. "The impact of technology and structural change on export performance in nine developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 527-547, April.
    2. Fagerberg, Jan & Srholec, Martin & Knell, Mark, 2007. "The Competitiveness of Nations: Why Some Countries Prosper While Others Fall Behind," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1595-1620, October.
    3. Archibugi, Daniele & Coco, Alberto, 2005. "Measuring technological capabilities at the country level: A survey and a menu for choice," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 175-194, March.
    4. Andre Jungmittag, 2004. "Innovations, technological specialisation and economic growth in the EU," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 247-273, January.
    5. Hsin-Ting Huang & Marcela Miozzo, 2004. "Patterns of technological specialisation in Latin American and East Asian countries: an analysis of patents and trade flows," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(7), pages 615-653.
    6. Fagerberg, Jan, 1988. "International Competitiveness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 355-374, June.
    7. Anthony P. Thirlwall, 2011. "The Balance of Payments Constraint as an Explanation of International Growth Rate Differences," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 64(259), pages 429-438.
    8. Brusoni, Stefano & Geuna, Aldo, 2003. "An international comparison of sectoral knowledge bases: persistence and integration in the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1897-1912, December.
    9. Pari Patel & Keith Pavitt, 1991. "Large Firms in the Production of the World’s Technology: An Important Case of “Non-Globalisation”," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, March.
    10. repec:spr:scient:v:66:y:2006:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-006-0035-y is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nicolas van Zeebroeck & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie & Wook Han, 2006. "Issues in measuring the degree of technological specialisation with patent data," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 66(3), pages 481-492, March.
    12. Meliciani, Valentina, 2002. "The impact of technological specialisation on national performance in a balance-of-payments-constrained growth model," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-118, March.
    13. Fagerberg, Jan, 1988. "International Competitiveness: Errata," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1203-1203, December.
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    More about this item


    especialização tecnológica; especialização industrial; oportunidade tecnológica; crescimento; mudança estrutural.;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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