External dependency, value added generation and structural changes: an inter-industry approach

  • João Ferreira do Amaral Universidade de Coimbra
  • João Carlos Lopes
  • João Dias


The external dependency of many industries and the corresponding low value added generated in production, combined with a relatively weak export potential, create high external deficits and growing debt to GDP ratios in several open economies. In this paper we propose an empirical method to assess the evolution of these vulnerabilities, based on a new treatment of interindustry production multipliers. The (gross) output growth potential given by the column sums of the Leontief inverse matrix (backward linkage indicators) results from three terms: interindustry consumptions, value added and imported inputs. After a convenient arrangement of these terms, the evolution of backward linkage indicators can be used to detect structural changes, particularly quantifying a (net) growth effect (more value-added generation) and an external dependency effect (more imported inputs), and to classify the productive sectors accordingly. An application to the Portuguese Economy is made, using input-output tables for the years 1980, 1995 and 2005. This method can also be useful as a simple, but suggestive, device to compare the evolution of two or more economies, along their development processes in time.


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