CEPAL Review

Cepal Review is the leading journal for the study of economic and social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by the Economic Commission for Latin America, each issue focuses on economic trends, industrialization, income distribution, technological development and monetary systems, as well as the implementation of economic reform and transfer of technology. Written in English and Spanish (Revista de la Cepal), each tri-annual issue offers approximately 12 studies and essays undertaken by authoritative experts or gathered from conference proceedings.

English Spanish

The great divide: Economic complexity and development paths in Brazil and the Republic of Korea

This paper uses the product space methodology to gain new perspectives on the relationship between economic complexity and economic development, illustrated by case studies of Brazil and the Republic of Korea. It takes import data as an indicator of revealed comparative disadvantage to highlight the relevance of the local market. Product space networks for each decade between 1960 and 2000 are then presented, revealing the significant changes in each country’s position in the international division of labour. Lastly, a structural development index is used to measure economic development in each country. The revealed comparative advantage and disadvantage indices indicate that while both countries had similar levels of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in the early 1960s, the Republic of Korea saw faster growth than Brazil thanks to its early specialization in more complex, technology-intensive goods.

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