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Empirical Confirmation of Creative Destruction from World Trade Data

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  • Klimek, Peter
  • Hausmann, Ricardo
  • Thurner, Stefan

Abstract

We show that world trade network datasets contain empirical evidence that the dynamics of innovation in the world economy indeed follows the concept of creative destruction, as proposed by J.A. Schumpeter more than half a century ago. National economies can be viewed as complex, evolving systems, driven by a stream of appearance and disappearance of goods and services. Products appear in bursts of creative cascades. We find that products systematically tend to co-appear, and that product appearances lead to massive disappearance events of existing products in the following years. The opposite–disappearances followed by periods of appearances–is not observed. This is an empirical validation of the dominance of cascading competitive replacement events on the scale of national economies, i.e., creative destruction. We find a tendency that more complex products drive out less complex ones, i.e., progress has a direction. Finally we show that the growth trajectory of a country’s product output diversity can be understood by a recently proposed evolutionary model of Schumpeterian economic dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Klimek, Peter & Hausmann, Ricardo & Thurner, Stefan, 2012. "Empirical Confirmation of Creative Destruction from World Trade Data," Scholarly Articles 9905685, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:9905685
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    1. Eric J. Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-114/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Cesar A. Hidalgo & Ricardo Hausmann, 2009. "The Building Blocks of Economic Complexity," Papers 0909.3890, arXiv.org.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
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    5. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    6. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    7. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
    8. Ricardo Hausmann & César Hidalgo, 2011. "The network structure of economic output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 309-342, December.
    9. Philippe Aghion & Johannes Fedderke & Peter Howitt & Chandana Kularatne & Nicola Viegi, 2008. "Testing Creative Destruction in an Opening Economy: the Case of the South African Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 93, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    10. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
    11. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1996. "On the Timing and Efficiency of Creative Destruction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 805-852.
    12. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    13. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salvador Pueyo, 2014. "Ecological Econophysics for Degrowth," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 1-53, May.
    2. repec:wfo:wstudy:58723 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Eduardo Lora, 2016. "The Path to Labor Formality: Urban Agglomeration and the Emergence of Complex Industries," CID Working Papers 78, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    4. Klimek, Peter & Poledna, Sebastian & Doyne Farmer, J. & Thurner, Stefan, 2015. "To bail-out or to bail-in? Answers from an agent-based model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 144-154.
    5. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2014. "An interpretation and critique of the Method of Reflections," MPRA Paper 60705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Orazio Angelini & Matthieu Cristelli & Andrea Zaccaria & Luciano Pietronero, 2016. "The complex dynamics of products and its asymptotic properties," Papers 1610.00274, arXiv.org, revised May 2017.
    7. Freire Junior, Clovis, 2017. "Economic diversification: Explaining the pattern of diversification in the global economy and its implications for fostering diversification in poorer countries," MERIT Working Papers 033, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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