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As You Sow So Shall You Reap: From Capabilities to Opportunities

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  • Jesus Felipe
  • Utsav Kumar
  • Arnelyn Abdon

Abstract

We develop an Index of Opportunities for 130 countries based on their capabilities to undergo structural transformation. The Index of Opportunities has four dimensions, all of them characteristic of a country’s export basket: (1) sophistication; (2) diversification; (3) standardness; and (4) possibilities for exporting with comparative advantage over other products. The rationale underlying the index is that, in the long run, a country’s income is determined by the variety and sophistication of the products it makes and exports, which reflect its accumulated capabilities. We find that countries like China, India, Poland, Thailand, Mexico, and Brazil have accumulated a significant number of capabilities that will allow them to do well in the long run. These countries have diversified and increased the level of sophistication of their export structures. At the other extreme, countries like Papua New Guinea, Malawi, Benin, Mauritania, and Haiti score very poorly in the Index of Opportunities because their export structures are neither diversified nor sophisticated, and they have accumulated very few and unsophisticated capabilities. These countries are in urgent need of implementing policies that lead to the accumulation of capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesus Felipe & Utsav Kumar & Arnelyn Abdon, 2010. "As You Sow So Shall You Reap: From Capabilities to Opportunities," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_613, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jesus Felipe & Utsav Kumar & Norio Usui & Arnelyn Abdon, 2013. "Why has China succeeded? And why it will continue to do so," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 791-818.
    2. Jesus Felipe & Utsav Kumar & Arnelyn Abdon, 2014. "As You Sow So Shall You Reap: From Capabilities to Opportunities," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 488-515, December.
    3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Klinger, Bailey, 2006. "Structural Transformation and Patterns of Comparative Advantage in the Product Space," Working Paper Series rwp06-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Cesar A. Hidalgo, 2009. "The Dynamics of Economic Complexity and the Product Space over a 42 year period," CID Working Papers 189, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rougier, Eric, 2016. "“Fire in Cairo”: Authoritarian–Redistributive Social Contracts, Structural Change, and the Arab Spring," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 148-171.
    2. Chen, Xi & Funke, Michael, 2013. "The dynamics of catch-up and skill and technology upgrading in China," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 465-480.
    3. Arnelyn Abdon & Jesus Felipe, 2011. "The Product Space: What Does It Say About the Opportunities for Growth and Structural Transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_670, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Byambasuren, Tsenguunjav & Gochoo, Munkh-Erdene, 2015. "Optimizing the Structure of Mongolian Foreign Trade and the Alternative Policy of Successful Transition," MPRA Paper 61803, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jesus Felipe & Utsav Kumar & Arnelyn Abdon, 2014. "As You Sow So Shall You Reap: From Capabilities to Opportunities," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 488-515, December.
    6. Felipe, Jesus & Kumar, Utsav & Abdon, Arnelyn, 2012. "Using capabilities to project growth, 2010–2030," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 153-166.
    7. Yaroslava Babych & Michael Fuenfzig, 2012. "An Application of the Growth Diagnostics Framework: The Case of Georgia," Working Papers 001-12, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capabilities; Index of Opportunities; Diversification; Open Forest; Product Space; Sophistication; Standardness;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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