Related industries, economic complexity, and regional diversification: An application for Brazilian microregions

This paper contributes to the literature on economic relatedness and diversification in Brazil. It uses firm-level, occupational data to estimate the relationship between regions’ diversification, the degree of relatedness, and economic complexity indexes. Given that the current literature often focuses on a single variable, a new relatedness measure is introduced. It includes three new relatedness dimensions. The co-occupation captures the degree of similarity of firms’ occupations; co-location, considers the geographical proximity of different sectors; and co-company, evaluates if firms operate in more than one sector. Analyzing the evolution of 558 microregions from 2006 to 2016, the study finds that new industries are more likely to enter when technologically related to existing ones, while industries lacking relatedness are prone to exit. The results highlight diversification as a significant path-dependent process. They also underscore the challenges of attracting and retaining new industries, especially those technologically distant or more complex, emphasizing the importance of relatedness in regional economic cohesion.

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