Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

April 23, 2018

# 18.18 On the evolution of comparative advantage: path-dependent versus path-defying changes

Filed under: 2018 — Tags: , , , — T.Broekel @ 7:13 am

Nicola D. Coniglio & Davide Vurchio & Nicola Cantore & Michele Clara


Abstract: The diversification of production and trade is considered almost unanimously a fundamental policy goal, particularly for developing economies whose export baskets are heavily concentrated on a few products. In what direction trade diversification ought to take place is, however, subject to fierce debate. The Product Space (PS) framework (Hausmann and Klinger, 2007; Hidalgo et al. 2007) is a recent contribution in the economic literature that has proved very influential in policy circles. It argues that the endowment of production capabilities (technologies, production factors, institutions etc.) determines what countries produce today but it also constrains what they can produce in the future as it is uncommon that countries develop a comparative advantage in goods that do not draw from the same pool of capabilities (unrelated products). Contributions along such line argue that defying the initial comparative advantage can be a risky policy decision with high probability of failure. The main objective of this contribution is to use a novel methodology to investigate whether the patterns of diversification of a sample of 177 countries over the period 1995-2015 conform or not to the prediction of the PS framework. We find evidence of a high degree of path-dependence but our analysis suggests also that a significant number of new products that entered countries’ export baskets were unrelated to the initial productive specialization (path-defying changes). We shed light on the determinants of these ‘radical’ patterns of diversification and show they are associated with higher economic growth. The results of this study have important policy implications in particular for the design of industrial policies aimed at actively shaping countries’ structural transformation.


January 18, 2018

# 18.07 Shooting Low or High: Do Countries Benefit from Entering Unrelated Activities?

Flávio L. Pinheiro & Aamena Alshamsi & Dominik Hartmann & Ron Boschma & César Hidalgo


It is well known that countries tend to diversify their exports by entering products that are related to their current exports. Yet this average behavior is not representative of every diversification path. In this paper, we introduce a method to identify periods when countries enter relatively more unrelated products. We analyze the economic diversification paths of 93 countries between 1970 and 2010 and find that countries enter unrelated products in only about 7.2% of all observations. Then, we show that countries enter more unrelated products when they are at an intermediate level of economic development, and when they have higher levels of human capital. Finally, we ask whether countries entering more unrelated products grow faster than those entering only related products. The data shows that countries that enter more unrelated activities experience an increase in short-term economic growth of 0.5% per annum compared to those with similar levels of income, human capital, capital stock per worker, and economic complexity.

June 16, 2017

# 17.14 Promoting regional growth and innovation: relatedness, revealed comparative advantage and the product space

Filed under: 2017 — Tags: , , , — mattehartog @ 6:43 pm

Gloria Cicerone, Philip McCann, Viktor A. Venhorst


We adapt the product-space methodological approach of Hausmann and Klinger to the case of Italian provinces and regions in order to examine the extent to which the network connectedness and centrality of a province’s exports is related to its economic performance. We construct a new Product Space Position (PSP) index which retains many of the Hausmann-Klinger features but which is also much better suited to handling regional and provincial data. We also compare PSP performance with two other export composition indices. A better positioning in the export-network product space is indeed associated with a better local economic outcomes.

June 8, 2012

# 12.11 The emergence of new technology-based sectors at the regional level: a proximity-based analysis of nanotechnology

Filed under: 2012 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 1:28 pm

Alessandra Colombelli, Jackie Krafft, Francesco Quatraro


This paper analyzes the emergence of new technology-based sectors at the regional level. We focus on the specific case of nanotechnology as representative of an industry based on a technology still in infancy whose evolution can be reliably traced on the basis of filed patent submissions. We implement a methodological framework based on the „product-space‟ approach, which allows us to investigate whether the development of new technologies is linked to the structure of the existing local knowledge base. We use patent data over the period 1986-2006 to carry out the analysis at the NUTS 2 level over the EU 15 countries. The results of the descriptive and econometric analysis supports the idea that history matters in the spatial development of a sector, and that the technological competences accumulated at the local level are likely to shape the future patterns of technological diversification.

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