IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Product Space and the Middle-Income Trap: Comparing Asian and Latin American Experiences

Listed author(s):
  • Anna Jankowska


  • Arne Nagengast


  • José Ramón Perea


Rapid and sustained economic growth in the emerging world has brought new members, notably China, into the group of middle-income countries. Reaching this level of income, however, has historically presented countries with a new set of challenges to development, resulting in slowing growth and an entrapment in what is known as the middle-income trap. Limited income convergence in Latin America has at least partly been due to its reduced capacity to engage in a structural transformation conducive to higher productivity. In contrast, emerging Asia offers a few examples of these ‚virtuous. productive transformations. With these two references in mind, we build a comparative analysis based on the following points: First, we illustrate differences in the process of structural transformation, both with regard to sector productivity and employment absorption. Second, we adopt the Product Space methodology to compare the structural transformation that took place in both regions. Finally, we consider the role played by Productive Development Policies (PDP) in shaping the process of structural transformation, through a comparative review of these policies in Korea, Brazil and Mexico. In short, the analysis allows us to gauge the role that the economic specialisation of a country plays in facilitating transitions to more advanced stages of economic development. La croissance rapide et soutenue dans les économies émergentes a fait rentrer des nouveaux membres, dont la Chine, dans le groupe des pays à revenu intermédiaire. Cependant, atteindre ce niveau de revenu, a historiquement supposé pour ces pays de faire face à de nouveaux défis pour le développement, entraînant un ralentissement de la croissance et une situation de stagnation connue sous le nom de piège des revenus intermédiaires. La convergence toutefois limitée de l’Amérique latine est en partie expliquée par sa capacité réduite à s’engager dans des transformations structurelles vers une productivité plus élevée. En revanche, l’Asie émergente nous présente des exemples de ces vertueuses transformations productives. Tenant compte de ces deux différences, nous élaborons une analyse comparative basée sur les dimensions suivantes : D’abord, nous illustrons des différences dans le processus de transformation structurelle, à la fois par rapport à la productivité sectorielle et la relocalisation d’emplois. Par la suite, nous adoptons la méthodologie de Product Space pour comparer la transformation structurelle qui a eu lieu dans les deux régions. Finalement, nous considérons le rôle des politiques de développement productives (PDP) pour déterminer le processus de transformation structurel, à travers une révision comparative de ces politiques en Corée, au Brésil et au Mexique. En somme, l’analyse permet d’évaluer le rôle que la spécialisation économique d’un pays peut jouer pour faciliter la transition vers des phases de développement économique plus avancées.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 311.

in new window

Date of creation: 11 May 2012
Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:311-en
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:311-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.