Economic Change and Restructuring

, Volume 44, Issue 1–2, pp 75–97 | Cite as

Trade specialization, export productivity and growth in Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and a cross section of countries



The paper analyses the patterns of export productivity and trade specialization profiles in Brazil, China, India and South Africa, and in other economic groupings and regions. Various measures of trade specialization and a time varying export productivity indicator are estimated using highly disaggregated export data. The findings reveal that there are important differences in the export productivity and specialisation patterns across countries and regions. Export productivity—and export sophistication—are in line to that of wealthier and more advance economies. The results further confirm the importance of not just the volume of exports, but the type of specialisation patterns.


Trade specialization Export productivity Growth China India Brazil and South Africa 

JEL Classification

C21 F1 O5 



I am indebted to Miguel León-Ledesma for helpful discussions in the early stages of the research. I also thank José R. Sánchez-Fung, and participants at the UNU-WIDER Project Meeting on ‘The Southern Engines of Global Growth—China, India, Brazil and South Africa’ held on January 12–13 in Beijing, China, for helpful comments and suggestions. Leticia Arroyo-Abad provided excellent research assistance. The usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© UNU-WIDER 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations University, World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)United Nations UniversityHelsinkiFinland

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