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Comparative Advantage, Complexity, and Volatility

  • Pravin Krishna

    (Johns Hopkins University and NBER)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

Less developed countries tend to experience higher output volatility, a fact that is in part explained by their specialization in more volatile sectors. This paper proposes theoretical explanations for this pattern of specialization -- with the complexity of the goods playing a central role. Speci cally, less developed countries with lower institutional ability to enforce contracts, or alternately, with low levels of human capital will specialize in less complex goods which are also characterized by higher levels of output volatility. We provide novel empirical evidence that less complex industries are indeed more volatile.

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File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers626-650/r632.pdf
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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 632.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 25 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:632
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  1. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
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  14. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
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  17. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
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  19. Charles I. Jones, 2011. "Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, April.
  20. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
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