China and Brazil Productive Structure and Economic Growth Compared: 1980’s to 2000’s


Hongtao Liu –  Xian Jiaotong University, Visiting PhD student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Karen Rosel Polenske – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joaquim José Martins Guilhoto – University of São Paulo

Abstract: China and Brazil are two countries with continental dimensions, with differences in availability of natural resources, population sizes, and which have adopted different strategies of economic growth in the past. China has been following consistently a strategy of Export Led Growth (ELG), while Brazil, until the mid 1990s had a strategy based on Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) with a relatively closed economy to the external market; however, recently Brazil has been switching to a more open economy, based on primary goods exports. In the mid 1980s the Gross National Income measured in US$ using purchasing power parity rates (GNI-PPP) of China and Brazil were at approximately the same level, but by the mid 2000s the GNI-PPP of China was around 4 times greater than Brazil’s. By looking at a series of input-output tables and their indicators, like multipliers and linkages, for China (1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007) and Brazil (1985, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007), we analyze, and compare the productive structures, and their changes over time, for these two countries. From the results, we are able to show the differences between these two countries and the results of the development strategies used by them.

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