Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 201–218 | Cite as

Export variety and the economic performance of countries

  • Pier Paolo SaviottiEmail author
  • Koen Frenken
Regular Article


We explore the relationship between export variety and economic development, using data on OECD countries between 1964 and 2003. We show that structural change in the world economy has a particular arrow of time leading to a growing variety of exports. Distinguishing between related variety (within sectors) and unrelated variety (variety between sectors), we also show that related variety stimulates growth instantaneously, while unrelated variety only promotes growth with a considerable time lag. This finding is in line with the evolutionary notions that economic development and international trade patterns are path dependent.


Related variety Unrelated variety Economic development Trade Path dependence 

JEL Classification

B25 F10 O11 O19 O30 O49 



Comments by Frank Neffke are gratefully acknowledged. All errors remain ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR GAELUniversité Pierre Mendés-FranceGrenoble, Cedex 9France
  2. 2.GREDEG, CNRS, UNSAValbonneFrance
  3. 3.Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht (URU), Section of Economic Geography, Faculty of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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