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Technological complexity and economic development

Daniel Nepelski () and Giuditta De Prato

Review of Development Economics, 2020, vol. 24, issue 2, 448-470

Abstract: Although technological complexity seems to be a crucial determinant of economic development, it remains insufficiently explored. Relying on microinformation stored in individual patent applications and by applying the network view of countries linked to the technologies they develop, we create a global technology space and derive complexity measures that position countries in this space. We use then the measures of technological diversification and the ubiquity of technologies present in a country’s technology portfolio as an input to explain the role of technological complexity in countries’ income and economic development. We show that a country’s position in the global technology space affects its level of income and growth. The main channel through which it happens is the exclusiveness and uniqueness of the technological portfolio a country has, as compared to the remaining countries.

Date: 2020
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