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Discovery and development : an empricial exploration of"new"products

  • Klinger, Bailey
  • Lederman, Daniel

The authors use disaggregated export data to explore the relationship between economic discovery and economic development. They find that discoveries, or episodes, when countries begin exporting a new product are not limited to so-called"dynamic"industries. Rather, they also occur in traditional sectors such as agriculture. In addition, the data suggest discovery is a component of the stages of productive diversification that occur with development, following a consistent pattern-discovery activity peaks at the lower-middle income level and then declines. Based on this pattern, the authors show that discovery in the 1990s occurred with a higher than expected frequency in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and lower than expected frequency in Sub-Saharan Africa. Discovery is not found to be a product of structural transformation based on changing factor endowments across income levels. Beyond export growth, population, and development, there are no significant and positive relationships between the expected drivers of entrepreneurship and the frequency of discovery. Combined with the finding that higher absorptive capacity and lower barriers to entry are associated with a reduction in discovery, this suggests that market failures arising from imitation and free-riding may be inhibiting the emergence of new export products in developing countries.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3450.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3450
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  1. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  2. Wolfgang Mayer, 1984. "The Infant-Export Industry Argument," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 249-69, May.
  3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
  4. Imbs, Jean & Wacziarg, Romain, 2000. "Stages of Diversification," CEPR Discussion Papers 2642, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jörg Mayer & Arunas Butkevicius & Ali Kadri, 2002. "Dynamic Products In World Exports," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 159, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  6. Mattias Ganslandt & James R. Markusen, 2001. "Standards and Related Regulations in International Trade: A Modeling Approach," NBER Working Papers 8346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. J. Peter Neary, 2002. "Competitive versus comparative advantage," Working Papers 200219, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  8. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
  9. Vettas, Nikolaos, 2000. "Investment Dynamics in Markets with Endogenous Demand," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 189-203, June.
  10. Lall, Sanjaya, 1998. "Exports of Manufactures by Developing Countries: Emerging Patterns of Trade and Location," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 54-73, Summer.
  11. Jerry A. Hausman & Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," NBER Technical Working Papers 0017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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