This paper explores the relation between countries' pattern of trade specialization and long-term economic growth. It shows that countries specializing in the export of natural resource based products only fail to grow if they do not succeed in diversifying their economies and export structure. This conclusion follows from an empirical investigation that has three innovative features. First, it uses a dynamic panel data analysis. Secondly, it employs disaggregated trade data sets to elaborate different measures of trade specialization that distinguish between unprocessed and manufactured natural resource products and are informative about the countries' trade diversification experience, their link to world demand trends and involvement in intra-industry trade. The final innovative aspect of the paper relates to our empirical findings: it is only specialization in unprocessed natural resource products that slows down economic growth, as it impedes the emergence of more dynamic patterns of trade specialization.

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ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development
Structural Change and Economic Dynamics
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Murshed, S.M, & Serino, L.A. (2011). The pattern of specialization and economic growth: The resource curse hypothesis revisited. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 22(2), 151–161. doi:10.1016/j.strueco.2010.12.004