News/Opinion

The Cure for Populism Is Equal Opportunity

October 25, 2019

Eric Protzer, Paul Summerville - Foreign Policy

he People’s Party of Canada (PPC), a cousin of the populist movements springing up in many advanced democracies, got badly trounced in the recent federal election. Maxime Bernier, the self-styled populist leader and founder of the PPC, even lost his seat in Beauce, Quebec, in the process. The PPC polled less than 2 percent of the popular vote, finished sixth among national political parties, and is now expected to close shop.

The PPC’s stark failure stands in contrast to populist success in other Western...

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People Value a Fair Opportunity over Equality

October 24, 2019

Eric Protzer, Paul Summerville - letter to Financial Times

Benedict Mander’s report “Chile’s inequality ignites unrest” (October 22) effectively articulates some of the frustrations behind the protests in Santiago: growth that is not inclusive, and a sense of being left behind. But like so much commentary on contemporary political unrest, it then makes the leap of assuming this anger can be chalked up simply to inequality of income and wealth.

This is a common mistake. In fact, behavioural science shows that people do not systematically dislike unequal...

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Australia is rich, dumb and getting dumber

October 8, 2019

Arron Patrick - Financial Review

Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, Mali and Turkmenistan share an unexpected connection to Australia, and it isn't membership of a tourist destination hot list.

All are among the economies that are so lacking in complexity, and have such limited natural opportunities to develop new products, that Harvard University recommends they adopt industrial policy straight out of the post-colonial developing world: the "strategic bets" approach.

The advice comes from the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for International Development,...

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New interactive website helps chart paths for economic growth

September 26, 2019

James F. Smith - The Harvard Gazette

Let’s say you are a government official weighing economic development strategies. Or you’re an entrepreneur looking for the best place to manufacture your new high-tech device. How do you sort through the mountains of available data to figure out which countries have the know-how to achieve dynamic growth — and which do not?

Researchers at Harvard have built a powerful new tool that will do a lot of the work for you.

The Growth Lab, a program of the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard Kennedy...

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Growth Lab’s new data tool identifies diversification opportunities for 130 countries

September 20, 2019

Harvard’s Growth Lab today launched Country Profiles, a unique data visualization tool that guides users on an interactive journey through a country’s economic structure and dynamic growth patterns ultimately revealing the strategy necessary to achieve greater prosperity. This first-of-its-kind platform — built into the Atlas of Economic Complexity — revolutionizes how to think about economic strategy, policy, and investment opportunities for more than 130 countries.

“The launch of Country Profiles is a critical step in the evolution of the Atlas of Economic Complexity,” said...

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Markets Are Starting to Play a Haunting 2007 Tune

September 18, 2019

John Authers - Bloomberg

...Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government has made it his life’s work to understand why some economies grow faster than others, and therefore which countries are likely to grow next. He believes the answer lies in economic complexity. To paraphrase, countries that develop complex industries with transferable skills are able to grow much faster. Countries that do nothing more than extract raw materials and don’t diversify (like Hausmann’s native Venezuela), have little chance of growth. Those that develop know-how...

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Don’t Blame Economics, Blame Public Policy

September 1, 2019

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

It is now customary to blame economics or economists for many of the world’s ills. Critics hold economic theories responsible for rising inequality, a dearth of good jobs, financial fragility, and low growth, among other things. But although criticism may spur economists to greater efforts, the concentrated onslaught against the profession has unintentionally diverted attention from a discipline that should shoulder more of the blame: public policy.

Economics and public policy are closely related, but they are not the...

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China Risks, Unlike Mexico Tariffs, Aren't Vanishing

June 11, 2019

John Authers - Bloomberg

...Which countries will manage to notch the fastest growth over the next decade? Nobody can know for certain, but Harvard’s Center for International Development has gone to great lengths to try to find out. Its key insight is that growth hinges on economic complexity. The more different skills a population has developed, and the more adaptable its economy, the better its chances of expansion. The more dependent it remains on one industry, the harder it is to achieve growth. It measures this phenomenon in a fascinating and public...

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Don't Blame Washington for Venezuela's Oil Woes: A Rebuttal

May 2, 2019

Ricardo Hausmann and Frank Muci - Americas Quarterly

On August 2017, the White House imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela, limiting its access to U.S. financial markets. Shortly after, Venezuela’s economy and oil sector collapsed. ​Economists Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Jeffrey Sachs conclude​ ​that the sanctions caused the collapse and human suffering that followed. Is this persuasive?...

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Indonesia and the Quest for 7% Growth: Overpromise or Underperformance?

April 16, 2019

By Timothy Cheston 
Visualizations by: Nil Tuzcu

Indonesians head to the polls for presidential and legislative elections on April 17, in what is traditionally billed as a clash of titans in the world’s third largest democracy. This time around, voters will find familiar names on the presidential ballot, as Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, faces Prabowo Subianto in the same billing as the 2014 election, with the one exception of Jokowi now having the incumbency of the presidency behind him. If current polls hold, the election appears less of a rematch than a watered-...

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