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Economic complexity and jobs: an empirical analysis

Adam, Antonis and Garas, Antonios and Katsaiti, Marina-Selini and Lapatinas, Athanasios (2021): Economic complexity and jobs: an empirical analysis. Published in: Economics of Innovation and New Technology (January 2021)

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This paper analyses the impact of economic complexity on the labour market using annual data on OECD countries for the period 1985-2008 and averaged data over the period 1990-2010 for 70 developed and developing countries with a large number of controls. We show that moving to higher levels of economic sophistication of exported goods leads to less unemployment and more employment, revealing that economic complexity does not induce job loss. Our findings remain robust across alternative econometric specifications. Furthermore, we place the spotlight on the link between products' embodied knowledge (sophistication) and labour market outcomes at the micro-level. We build a product-level index that attaches a product to the average level of unemployment (or employment) in the countries that export it. With this index, we illustrate how the development of sophisticated products is associated with changes in the labour market and show that the economic sophistication of exported goods captures information about the economy's job creation and destruction.

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