Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


In Global Trade, Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be a Bad Thing

A multitude of trade products is good for a country – up to a point

In today’s dynamic global economic environment, companies or countries consider everything when it comes to expanding their economies.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas examined the relationship between products in global trade and the characteristics of a country’s product specialization pattern and discovered that having a multitude of similar products can be beneficial to growth — up to a point, after which the benefit declines.

Raja Kali and Javier Reyes, associate professors in the Sam M. Walton College of Business; Josh McGee, vice president of public accountability at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Walton College doctoral graduate of economics; and Stuart Shirrell, a former Bodenhamer Fellow and 2011 magna cum laude graduate of the U of A, performed the study.

The researchers discovered that interaction between products plays an important role in economic growth. In the early stages of product development, these synergies allow for a quick growth rate. Specialization in a certain area, such as electronics, establishes the base for similar products to be developed and exported.

Kali and his colleagues use Ireland as an example of this growth pattern.

“We know that Ireland experienced a trade and economic growth acceleration episode in 1985, and from our data we can examine Ireland’s country-level product specialization before and after the growth acceleration period,” he said.

Ireland experienced increases in its chemical industry, manufactured goods, machinery and transportation and commercial manufacturing, all of which overlapped with food and animal production and crude materials. The researchers believe the inter-related nature of these industries played a key role in Ireland developing new products and expanding its export base.

A contrasting example is Greece, which had a high level of interaction within the manufactured goods industry, did not expand this interaction into other high-density industries. As a result, over the ten-year period studied, 1980-1990, the country experienced a relative decrease in synergies between it’s export products

While inter-relatedness between products can help a country expand its economy, it can also cause an adverse effect, the researchers found.

“Essentially, one could say that too much of a good thing makes you fat and happy, and that ultimately is not so good for a country,” Kali said.

The researchers developed a way of measuring density at the product and country level. Product density is the number of links between a single product and the other products in a country’s export set, divided by the total number of links between that product and every other product, regardless of whether it is in the country’s product set or not. Country density is computed by weighting the density of each product that a country exports.

As density increases, “inertia” becomes stronger, making the jump to new products more difficult. An increase in network proximity more proportionate than product density is required to maintain growth acceleration.

The researchers defined product space as the relatedness between products in global trade. This space can be thought of as a network in which each product represents a node, and the relationships between them represent the linkages. In their study, each country’s network was superimposed on the country’s specialization pattern.

The information allowed the researchers to “measure” the density of the links and to develop a measure of the proximity of the country’s specialization to the products themselves. The proximity of the products indicated how easily a country could move from its current specialization to new products.

The researchers’ study was published in the Journal of Development Economics. The study is available online at

Raja Kali, associate professor, economics
Sam M. Walton College of Business
Javier Reyes, associate professor, economics
Sam M. Walton College of Business
Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations

Matt McGowan | Newswise
Further information:

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market
28.09.2016 | HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

nachricht Paper or plastic?
08.07.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>