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Export Diversity and Regional Growth: Empirical Evidence from South Africa

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  • Matthee, Marianne
  • Naude, Wim

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the relationship between exports, and in particular export diversity, and regional growth in a developing country context. Using export data for 19 sectors from 354 subnational (magisterial) districts of South Africa, we construct various measures of subnational export diversity. We find that it is not only how much that is exported, but also important is what is exported. Regions with less specialization and more diversified exports generally experienced higher economic growth rates and contributed much more to overall exports from South Africa. We also find that distance (and thus transport costs) may matter for export diversity. Estimating a cubic-spline density function for the various measures of export diversity we find that export diversity declines as the distance from a port (export hub) increases. Most magisterial districts with high export diversity values are located within 100 km of the nearest port. Furthermore, comparing the cubic-spline density functions for 2004 with that of 1996 shows that distance (transport costs) have become more important (under greater openness), with fewer diverse magisterial districts located further away from ports in 2004 than in 1996. One possible explanation for this changing pattern of export diversity may be due to the impact of greater foreign direct investment in South Africa since 1996.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthee, Marianne & Naude, Wim, 2007. "Export Diversity and Regional Growth: Empirical Evidence from South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 011, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2007-11
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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/rp2007-11.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:cai:edddbu:edd_302_0019 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ferreira, Gustavo F.C. & Harrison, R. Wes, 2012. "From Coffee Beans to Microchips: Export Diversification and Economic Growth in Costa Rica," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 44(04), November.
    3. Moussir, Charaf-Eddine & Tabit, Safaa, 2016. "Diversification des exportations et transformation structurelle au Maroc: Quel rôle pour les IDE ?
      [Export Diversification and Structural Transformation in Morocco: What Role for FDI?]
      ," MPRA Paper 76582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Naude, Wim & Rossouw, Riaan, 2008. "Export Diversification and Specialization in South Africa: Extent and Impact," WIDER Working Paper Series 093, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Bedassa Tadesse & Elias K. Shukralla, 2013. "The impact of foreign direct investment on horizontal export diversification: empirical evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 141-159, January.
    6. Olivier CADOT & Jaime DE MELO & Patrick PLANE & Laurent WAGNER & Martha Tesfaye WOLDEMICHAEL, 2016. "Industrialization and Structural Change: Can Sub-Saharan Africa Develop without Factories?," Working Papers P143, FERDI.
    7. Ferreira, Gustavo F.C., 2009. "From Coffee Beans to Microchips: Export Diversification and Economic Growth in Costa Rica," 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia 47178, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    8. Olivier Cadot & Jaime de Melo & Patrick Plane & Laurent Wagner & Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael, 2016. "Industrialisation et transformation structurelle : l’Afrique subsaharienne peut-elle se développer sans usines ?," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 24(2), pages 19-49.

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