Publication

The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations

July 27, 2007

Groups

CA Hidalgo, B Klinger, A-L Barabasi, R Hausmann.

Abstract

Economies grow by upgrading the type of products they produce and export. The technology, capital, institutions and skills needed to make such new products are more easily adapted from some products than others. We study the network of relatedness between products, or ‘product space’, finding that most upscale products are located in a densely connected core while lower income products occupy a less connected periphery. We show that countries tend to move to goods close to those they are currently specialized in, allowing nations located in more connected parts of the product space to upgrade their exports basket more quickly. Most countries can reach the core only if they “jump” over empirically infrequent distances in the product space. This may help explain why poor countries have trouble developing more competitive exports, failing to converge to the income levels of rich countries.

Related Content