Export Pioneers in Latin America

Export Pioneers in Latin America


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Why do some new export activities succeed while others do not? Why are some not even attempted? In this book, distinguished research teams analyze eleven cases of new export endeavors in six Latin American countries to learn how export pioneers are born and jump-start a virtuous process leading to economic transformation.

The case studies range from blueberries in Argentina and fresh cut flowers in Colombia to aircraft in Brazil and software in Uruguay. They put to the test two conjectures: that costly burdens to entrepreneurial self-discovery due to imitation by competitors deter would-be pioneers (the low appropriation hypothesis advanced by Harvard’s Hausmann and Rodrik) and that new export activities are a complex enterprise that only reach fruition when the innovative contributions of many actors are somehow provided jointly (the failure of coordination hypothesis). These case studies offer many examples in which cooperation proved absolutely vital to export success, while problems of appropriation appeared less critical.

Interestingly, in solving coordination problems, innovators frequently mitigated problems of appropriation. Coordination is difficult, however, and, as the tales of these export pioneers suggest, industrial policy has an important role to play in facilitating it.


Business | Economics | Economic Theory | History | International Business | International Economics | Latin American History




Harvard University Press


Cambridge, MA


“The traditional pessimism regarding Latin American economies is rapidly fading, and this high-quality collection of 11 success stories helps explain why. U.S. consumers have grown accustomed to good-value wines from Chile, beautiful flowers from Colombia, nutritious avocados from Mexico, and well-engineered Embraer jets from Brazil. These case studies trace the birth and growth of the dynamic industries that produce these goods, placing special emphasis on the helping hands of governments and on the self-interested cooperation among local firms. As the strong overview by Sabel underscores, governments can assist in basic research and patent protection, offer tax incentives and targeted credits, ensure quality and safety standards, and promote the ‘country brand.’ Rather than destroy one another through competition, local firms can band together to lobby national and foreign governments for favorable treatment.”
Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

Export Pioneers in Latin America

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