Persistence in World Export Patterns and Productive Capabilities Across Two Globalizations

Isabella M. Weber, Gregor Semieniuk, Junshang Liang & Tom Westland
We construct a new global commodity-level export dataset to analyze the persistence of export patterns as proxies of productive capabilities across the first and the current waves of global- ization. We find that productive capabilities are path-dependent and historical capabilities are powerful predictors of countries’ incomes today. This is robust to controlling for persistence in geography, institutions, and colonial status, and confirmed by instrumenting past capabilities with asymmetric reductions in travel times following the switch...
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