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New Export Activities in Brazil: Comparative Advantage, Policy or Self-Discovery?

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  • Armando Castelar Pinneiro
  • Regis Bonelli

Abstract

This paper examines Brazil’s export discoveries in aircraft, cell phones and swine meat. All cases confirm the importance of efficiency gains and sunk costs in the expansion of exports and lead to the following conclusions: both economic policy and comparative advantage played important roles in the emergence of new export activities; economies of scale were a crucial determinant of competitiveness; and a well-known brand helped to overcome information asymmetries and facilitate entry into export markets. Exporters concentrated on design, marketing, R&D, and product assembly, making coordination with suppliers an important element in their strategies. Public policy additionally had a strong if sometimes unintended influence. While governments can foster discoveries, especially in the presence of market failures, policy alone cannot produce a successful exporter.

Suggested Citation

  • Armando Castelar Pinneiro & Regis Bonelli, 2008. "New Export Activities in Brazil: Comparative Advantage, Policy or Self-Discovery?," Research Department Publications 3256, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3256
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    3. Romer, Paul, 1994. "New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 5-38, February.
    4. Feenstra, Robert & Hiau Looi Kee, 2004. "Export variety and country productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3412, The World Bank.
    5. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    6. Gabriel Sánchez & Ricardo Rozemberg & Inés Butler & Hernán Rufo, 2008. "The Emergence of New Successful Export Activities in Argentina: Self-Discovery, Knowledge Niches, or Barriers to Riches?," Research Department Publications 3254, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1988. "Industrial Policy and International Competition in Wide-Bodied Jet Aircraft," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 45-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
    9. Andrea E. Goldstein & Steven M. McGuire, 2004. "The Political Economy of Strategic Trade Policy and the Brazil-Canada Export Subsidies Saga," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 541-566, April.
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