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Product Complexity and Economic Development

  • Arnelyn Abdon
  • Marife Bacate
  • Jesus Felipe
  • Utsav Kumar

We rank 5,107 products and 124 countries according to the Hidalgo and Hausmann (2009) measures of complexity. We find that: (1) the most complex products are in machinery, chemicals, and metals, while the least complex products are raw materials and commodities, wood, textiles, and agricultural products; (2) the most complex economies in the world are Japan, Germany, and Sweden, and the least complex, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, and Nigeria; (3) the major exporters of the more complex products are the high-income countries, while the major exporters of the less complex products are the low-income countries; and (4) export shares of the more complex products increase with income, while export shares of the less complex products decrease with income. Finally, we relate the measure of product complexity with the concept of Complex Products and Systems, and find a high degree of conformity between them.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_616.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_616
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  1. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hwang, Jason & Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "What You Export Matters," Working Paper Series rwp05-063, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Hobday, Mike & Rush, Howard & Tidd, Joe, 2000. "Innovation in complex products and system," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(7-8), pages 793-804, August.
  4. Meghnad Desai & Sakiko Fukuda-Parr & Claes Johansson & Fransisco Sagasti, 2002. "Measuring the Technology Achievement of Nations and the Capacity to Participate in the Network Age," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 95-122.
  5. Virginia Acha & Andrew Davies & Michael Hobday & Ammon Salter, 2004. "Exploring the capital goods economy: complex product systems in the UK," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 505-529, June.
  6. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hidalgo, César A., 2010. "Country Diversification, Product Ubiquity, and Economic Divergence," Scholarly Articles 4554740, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
  8. W. W. Rostow, 1959. "The Stages Of Economic Growth," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 12(1), pages 1-16, 08.
  9. Lall, Sanjaya & Weiss, John & Zhang, Jinkang, 2006. "The "sophistication" of exports: A new trade measure," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 222-237, February.
  10. Daniele Archibugi & Alberto Coco, 2004. "A New Indicator of Technological Capabilities for Developed and Developing Countries (ArCo)," SPRU Working Paper Series 111, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  11. Hobday, Mike, 1998. "Product complexity, innovation and industrial organisation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 689-710, February.
  12. M. Desai, S. Fukuda-Parr, C. Johansson, and F. Sagasti, 2002. "Measuring Technology Achievement of Nations and the Capacity to Participate in the Network Age," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2002-22, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  13. Hobday, Michael & Rush, Howard & Bessant, John, 2004. "Approaching the innovation frontier in Korea: the transition phase to leadership," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1433-1457, December.
  14. Lall, Sanjaya, 1992. "Technological capabilities and industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 165-186, February.
  15. repec:sae:ecolab:v:16:y:2006:i:2:p:1-2 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Cesar A. Hidalgo & Ricardo Hausmann, 2009. "The Building Blocks of Economic Complexity," Papers 0909.3890, arXiv.org.
  17. 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.
  18. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
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