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Our Word is Our Weapon / Making tracks through policy space

Making tracks through policy space

I’m a sucker for a beautiful chart, and New Economist is right - this one from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook chapter on commodities is a humdinger.

The importance of industry at various stages of economic development - fig. 5.8 from the 2006 World Economic Outlook

China does rather stand out there, doesn’t it? This seems to provide graphic support for Dani Rodrik’s argument that “China has somehow managed to latch on to advanced, high-productivity products that one would not normally expect a poor, labor-abundant country like China to produce, let alone export”.

I like this kind of ‘trend’ chart, with income or some other indicator of development on the X axis, because it means we can pick out patterns that seem common to countries at a similar stage of development regardless of when they each reached that stage (a similar illustration for trade barriers would be particularly interesting). Of course, such patterns may break down over time - for example, it might be that the inverted U-shape trend was once the rule, but the diffusion of technology means that countries like China can start to seriously industrialise at much lower incomes. So this chart needs a Z axis to represent calendar time too (at which point it will unfortunately become pretty much impossible to either construct or comprehend).

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2006 at 12:43 AM and filed in Theory and analysis. Bookmark this entry. Follow the comments here with the RSS 2.0 feed. Apologies. Comments and trackbacks are both currently closed.

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