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An interpretation and critique of the Method of Reflections

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  • Kemp-Benedict, Eric

Abstract

This paper provides an explication of the Method of Reflections developed by Hidalgo and Hausmann and a critique of their interpretation of the variables that it produces. They show that a quantity they identify with the average complexity of a country’s exports is correlated with log income. We show that their complexity measure is also orthogonal to their country diversity score. This suggests that the two measures capture different kind of information, but what that information might be is unclear. In this paper we propose an alternative interpretation and argue that the correlation between log income and Hausmann et al.’s complexity measure is a consequence of the well-studied relationship between export and income growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2014. "An interpretation and critique of the Method of Reflections," MPRA Paper 60705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:60705
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/60705/1/MPRA_paper_60705.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Judith Giles & Cara Williams, 2001. "Export-led growth: a survey of the empirical literature and some non-causality results. Part 2," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 445-470.
    2. Andrea Zaccaria & Matthieu Cristelli & Andrea Tacchella & Luciano Pietronero, 2014. "How the Taxonomy of Products Drives the Economic Development of Countries," Papers 1408.2138, arXiv.org.
    3. Jean Imbs & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Stages of Diversification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 63-86, March.
    4. Joshua J. Lewer & Hendrik Van den Berg, 2003. "How Large Is International Trade's Effect on Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 363-396, July.
    5. John S.L. McCombie, 1997. "On the Empirics of Balance-Of-Payments–Constrained Growth," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 345-375, March.
    6. Peter Klimek & Ricardo Hausmann & Stefan Thurner, 2011. "Empirical confirmation of creative destruction from world trade data," Papers 1112.2984, arXiv.org.
    7. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
    8. Olivier Cadot & Céline Carrère & Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, 2013. "Trade Diversification, Income, And Growth: What Do We Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 790-812, September.
    9. Poncet, Sandra & Starosta de Waldemar, Felipe, 2013. "Export Upgrading and Growth: The Prerequisite of Domestic Embeddedness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 104-118.
    10. Feder, Gershon, 1983. "On exports and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-2), pages 59-73.
    11. Sandra Poncet & Felipe Starosta, 2013. "Export upgrading and growth in China: the prerequisite of domestic embeddedness," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00960684, HAL.
    12. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00960684 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. A. P. Thirlwall, 1997. "Reflections on the Concept of Balance-Of-Payments–Constrained Growth," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 377-385, March.
    14. Judith Giles & Cara Williams, 2001. "Export-led growth: a survey of the empirical literature and some non-causality results. Part 1," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 261-337.
    15. Ricardo Hausmann & César Hidalgo, 2011. "The network structure of economic output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 309-342, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andres Gomez-Lievano, 2018. "Methods and Concepts in Economic Complexity," Papers 1809.10781, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2018.
    2. repec:eee:proeco:v:206:y:2018:i:c:p:159-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hartmann, Dominik & Guevara, Miguel R. & Jara-Figueroa, Cristian & Aristarán, Manuel & Hidalgo, César A., 2017. "Linking Economic Complexity, Institutions, and Income Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 75-93.
    4. Penny Mealy & J. Doyne Farmer & Alexander Teytelboym, 2017. "Interpreting Economic Complexity," Papers 1711.08245, arXiv.org, revised Sep 2018.
    5. Lyubimov, Ivan & Gvozdeva, Margarita & Lysyuk, Maria, 2018. "Towards increased complexity in Russian regions : networks, diversification and growth," BOFIT Discussion Papers 8/2018, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    6. Ivanova, Inga & Strand, Øivind & Kushnir, Duncan & Leydesdorff, Loet, 2017. "Economic and technological complexity: A model study of indicators of knowledge-based innovation systems," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 77-89.
    7. Mealy, Penny & Farmer, J. Doyne & Hausmann, Ricardo, 2018. "Determining the Differences that Matter: Development and Divergence in US States over 1850-2010," Working Paper Series rwp18-030, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    8. Sebastian Bustos & Muhammed A. Yildirim, 2019. "Production Ability and Economic Growth," CID Working Papers 110a, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    9. repec:rnp:ecopol:ep1828 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Inga Ivanova & Oivind Strand & Duncan Kushnir & Loet Leydesdorff, 2015. "The Efficiency of Triple-Helix Relations in Innovation Systems: Measuring the Connection between a Country’S Net Income and its Knowledge Base," HSE Working papers WP BRP 55/STI/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Method of Reflections; economic complexity; Perron-Frobenius theorem;

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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