There is a fairly recent literature about "networks" (Barabasi, “Linked” 2003, Basic Books; Hausmann et al. “The Atlas of Economic Complexity 2014, MIT Press) that emphasize that some industries are more “related” or “linked” than others and that poorer countries often do not “exploit” these linkages as effectively as richer countries. Has the idea that some industries are “related” been discussed before in the literature of the industrial revolution or economic development?

I presume the answer is “yes” but I couldn’t find much, though I may have looked in the wrong places. I conclude this question by clarifying what the literature mentioned above understands by industries being “linked”.

  1. Industries may be linked by their input or output flows. When for example one is a supplier of the other or both use inputs from a third industry.
  2. Industries may be linked because they require similar infrastructure (e.g. schooling, universities). Switzerland, for example, has a well-developed watchmaking industry and is strong in precision engineering. If the education required to work in these industries overlap to some extent—which seems reasonable—both industries would be linked by their human capital requirements.

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