Atlas of Economic Complexity: Mapping Paths to Prosperity (2013)

Ricardo Hausmann, César A. Hidalgo, Sebastian Bustos, Michele Coscia, Alexander Simoes, Muhammed A. Yildirim

Why do some countries grow and others do not? The Atlas of Economic Complexity offers an explanation based on "Economic Complexity," a measure of a society’s productive knowledge. Prosperous societies are those that have the knowledge to make a larger variety of more complex products. The Atlas of Economic Complexity attempts to measure the amount of productive knowledge countries hold and how they can move to accumulate more of it by making more complex products.

Through the graphical representation of the "Product Space," we identify each country's "adjacent possible," or potential new products, making it easier to find paths to economic diversification and growth. In addition, we aruge a country’s economic complexity and its position in the product space are better predictors of economic growth than many other well-known development indicators, including measures of competitiveness, governance, finance, and schooling.

This new edition (original was published in 2011)) has sharpened the theory and empirical evidence of how knowhow affects income and growth and how knowhow itself grows over time. In this edition, we also update our numbers to 2010, thus adding two more years of data and extending our projections. We also undertook a major overhaul of the data. Sebastián Bustos and Muhammed Yildirim went back to the original sources and created a new dataset that significantly improves on the one used for the 2011 edition. They developed a new technique to clean the data, reducing inconsistencies and the problems caused by misreporting. The new dataset provides a more accurate estimate of the complexity of each country and each product. With this improved dataset, our results are even stronger.

The online sister site of this publication, The Atlas online, has been significantly enhanced with the use of an updated dataset which now covers up to 2013; the addition of bilateral trade data; and the inclusion of trade information classified according to the Harmonized System, a recently developed dataset which goes back to 1995, as well as the more traditional Standard International Trade Classification (SITC-4) dating back to 1962. Also, The Atlas online now includes multilingual support, country profiles, bulk data downloads, and a large number of design features, including dynamic text for the Tree Map visualizations and an improved design of the Product Space visualizations.

See also: front