The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses panel data for 19 OECD countries and finds support for the hypothesis that a greater degree of product variety relative to the United States helps to explain relative per capita GDP levels. The empirical work relies upon some direct measures of product variety calculated from 6-digit OECD export and import data. Although the issue is still far from being settled, the emerging conclusion is that the index of relative product variety across countries is significantly correlated with relative per capita income levels.