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Variety and the evolution of refinery processing

P. Nguyen, Pier Paolo Saviotti (), Michel Trommetter () and B. Bourgeois

Working Papers from Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL)

Abstract: Evolutionary theories of economic development stress the role of variety as both a determinant and a result of growth. In this paper we develop a measure of variety, based on Weitzman's maximum likelihood procedure. This measure is based on the distance between products, and indicates the degree of differentiation of a product population. We propose a generic method, which permits to regroup the products with very similar characteristics values before choosing randomly the product models to be used to calculate Weitzman's measure. We apply the variety measure to process characteristics of oil refining. The results obtained for this technology show classic evolutionary specialization patterns that can be understood on the basis of niche theory. Here the changes in variety are related to changes in the range of the services the technology considered can deliver, range which plays a role similar to that of the size of the habitat of a biological species.

Keywords: TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION; REFINERY PROCESSES; NICHE THEORY; WEITZMAN MEASURE (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L15 L93 Q40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
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Journal Article: Variety and the evolution of refinery processing (2005)
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