Economic Complexity is a measure of the amount of capabilities and knowhow that goes into the production of any given product. Products are made out of knowledge. To make a shirt, one needs to design it, make the fabric, cut it, sew it, pack it, brand it, market it and distribute it. For a country to produce shirts, it needs people who have expertise in each of these areas. Each of these tasks involves many more capabilities than any one person can master. Only by combining knowhow from different people can any one product be made.
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Growth Diagnostics is a methodology developed by Ricardo Hausmann, Dani Rodrik and Andrés Velasco to determine the obstacles to a country’s capacity to grow. It is a unified framework for identifying the binding constraints to growth, which is key to formulating growth strategies. The main idea is that each country may be bumping against different potential constraints but each constellation of constraints must be giving off a different collection of symptoms or signals. These symptoms can then be used to perform a differential diagnosis.
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Access to Publications & Tools
The Growth Lab publishes its research papers in several open-access repositories; the Center for International Development's Working Paper Series, the HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, Harvard DASH, and RePEc. All Growth Lab faculty, fellows, and associates with related research are eligible to publish in the CID series. All of the Growth Lab's digital tools are publically available and accessible via the Viz Hub.
Research Seminar Series
This weekly seminar series brings together researchers from across the academic spectrum who share an interest in growth and development. The seminar emphasizes interdisciplinary exchanges between the social and natural sciences, and speakers are welcome to present early-stage or mature work on a wide range of topics, including migration, local markets, structural change, innovation and the dynamics of technology, models of combinatorial growth, economic history, social and cultural evolution, the environmental impacts of growth, and trade. Learn more
Visiting Fellows & Scholars
The Growth Lab annually accepts a small number of visiting scholars to join the lab and pursue common research efforts. Applicants must bring their own funding sources. A typical stay at the Growth Lab is between 6 and 12 months (with a minimum of 3 months). Apply
The Growth Lab's policy research teams work to understand the specific dynamics of economic growth and structural change in different contexts. Our project engagements provide local stakeholders with insights on the policies needed to unleash the growth potential of their economies.
Publications & Tools
Our working papers, policy briefs, and other publications are available in many open-access repositories. Our digital design and development team translates research and insights into online web applications and interactive storytelling, all made publicly available and used by a global community of policymakers, scholars, investors, and journalists.
This series of conversations with policymakers and academics working in international development provides a platform for practitioners and researchers to discuss both the practice of development and analytical work centered on policy.
We teach and train economic development practitioners around the world. Our Leading Economic Growth Executive Education program provides a framework for understanding economic growth, as well as sophisticated tools for diagnosis, decision making, and implementation.
The Growth Lab offers many opportunities for all students to engage with our faculty and fellows, and contribute to our mission.
The Growth Lab's Research Seminar Series (interdisciplinary exchanges between the social and natural sciences, and speakers are welcome to present early-stage or mature work) and Development Talks (series of conversations with policymakers and academics working in international development) are open to all students. We hosted more than 50 events and 1,500 attendees in 2021.
The Growth Lab regularly recruits Master's level students for its Summer Internship Program. The students are embedded in our policy projects, working at various government ministries and closely with senior officials to conduct research as well as policy analysis.
Meet the 2021 Interns | Read their blogs
As a research program, the Growth Lab does not confer degrees or offer classes. Prospective students interested in studying international development should consider the Kennedy School’s MPA/ID degree program or its Executive Education programs. Growth Lab director Ricardo Hausmann teaches courses in both programs and incorporates our methodologies, research insights, and tools.
The Growth Lab relies on the generous support of individuals, organizations, and foundations to fund our academic research and policy projects, the tools that translate our research insights into public goods; and our greatest assets, our team, who are dedicated to fulfilling our mission of inclusive prosperity.
If you would like to learn more about the Growth Lab and the ways you can support us, email Andrea Carranza, or call (617) 384-5734.