Commodity Dependence

A Twenty-Year Perspective

image of Commodity Dependence

A country is considered to be dependent on commodity exports when commodities constitute the predominant share of its exports. The combination of a high concentration of exports and the large share of commodities in those exports has important implications for development. In particular, export concentration on primary commodities, or “commodity dependence”, has long been conceptually and empirically linked with underdevelopment. Despite the importance of measuring and analysing commodity dependence, there have been few efforts to empirically analyse and monitor its different dimensions, apart from some national or regional studies. This study seeks to fill this gap by contributing to a better monitoring of world commodity dependence and improving an understanding of the challenges it poses to development.



The evolution of world commodity dependence, 1998–2017, and the commodity price cycle

Three interesting facts stand out about the evolution of world commodity dependence over the two decades between 1998 and 2017.


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