Monday, October 25, 2010

Commodity Lottery, XXI edition

The idea of a commodity lottery is well known among the students of Latin American economic history. It goes like that: the path of development that each country took was related to the characteristics of its main (natural resource based product) natural product exports: income elasticity and price, the possibility of linkages and global competition ... Exporting bananas or rubber is very different from exporting meat or coffee.
Well, now the argument of bad luck comes back. The great "New Economic Geographer" Gordon Hanson writes (via MR) in Why Mexico is not Rich? that the reason behind Mexico's misfortune is that its specialization pattern lies in goods similar to those of China.
China’s size, high rate of growth, and increasing outward orientation mean that its emergence is surely changing international prices, improving the terms of trade for countries that produce its importables and deteriorating the terms of trade for countries that produce its exportables. Mexico fits squarely in the latter camp, whereas Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru fit in the former.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

XKCD brillant as ever

Luis Fernando Verissimo, a Brazilian writer, once proposed "voodoopuncture". Instead of going to the acupuncturist, you would be treated without leaving home. The voodoopuncturist would stick acupunture needles in the voodoo dolls of you! I add that voodoopuncture could be outsourced to Haiti and/or China. It is a win-win-win situation!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Services or Manufacturing. Which sector is the main driver of growth?

Bhagwati challenges the manufacturing fallacy. In addition, this article argues that the services sector played a major role in the revival of Indian manufacturing. (HT Escolhas e Conseqüências).
I am convinced that Colin Clark's division of the economy in three sectors is not that useful anymore. For instance, how much of a US$200 Nike shoe was produced in the services sector?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Regional policy in Europe

This article deals with an issue that has been on my mind for a long time: how to justify regional policies? The article is interesting, but I must say that it pays no attention to the Regional Science literature on the issue.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Living Standards in Latin American History: Height, Welfare, and Development, 1750-2000 "

The book -just published!- is part of the David Rockefeller Center Series on Latin American Studies, is distributed by Harvard University Press , and it is available at Amazon. One of its papers is Growth and Inequalities of Height in Brazil, 1939-1981, an anthropometrical study written by Nogueról, Shikida and myself. A previous version of the paper is available here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010