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Empirical Confirmation of Creative Destruction from World Trade Data

Listed author(s):
  • Klimek, Peter
  • Hausmann, Ricardo
  • Thurner, Stefan

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.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/9905685/Hausmann_EmpiricalConfirmation-published.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 9905685.

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Date of creation: 2012
Publication status: Published in PLoS ONE
Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:9905685
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  1. Cesar A. Hidalgo & Ricardo Hausmann, 2009. "The Building Blocks of Economic Complexity," Papers 0909.3890, arXiv.org.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
  3. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1991. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 43-61.
  4. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
  9. 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.
  10. Ricardo Hausmann & César Hidalgo, 2011. "The network structure of economic output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 309-342, December.
  11. Paul M. Romer, 1994. "The Origins of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
  12. 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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