This paper employs distribution dynamics and patent data to study the empirical dynamics of technological specialization in industrial countries. Large countries spread innovation activities across a wider range of technologies, and their specialization level in a field displays lower probability to move around its initial level (country size effects). Mobility is high and asymmetric: it is difficult to improve specialization in very disadvantaged technologies, while high comparative advantages revert towards lower specialization levels. These findings undermine the theory of technological accumulation and path dependence, its implication of persistence in trade specialization patterns and the effectiveness of targeted industrial and technology policies.
- Distribution dynamics
- Technological Specialization