NEWS/OPINION

Planning for Crisis Resilience

September 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

When you throw a tennis ball to the ground, it bounces back up. But if you throw a wine glass, it shatters. Many countries’ economies are in free fall. Will they bounce back or shatter? What can be done to assure a strong recovery?

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be obvious, as ongoing research with Sebastián Bustos on previous crises suggests. In the 2008 global financial crisis, among the least affected countries...

Read more about Planning for Crisis Resilience

When should we hit the road again?

September 7, 2020

Financial Times

...That business travel was necessary for business success appeared clear before the Covid crisis. The Growth Lab, a research unit at Harvard’s Center for International Development, looked at international travel spending by holders of corporate credit and debit cards between 2011 and 2016. It found that where there was business travel, there were measurable benefits in growth and employment, both in the countries the travellers came from, but particularly in the countries they travelled to.

The transfer of knowledge was vital to business...

Read more about When should we hit the road again?

Horrible trade-offs in a pandemic: Analysis and policy implications

August 29, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann and Ulrich Schetter for Vox EU

Countries all over the world are fighting COVID-19 by reducing social and economic interactions, measures that have proven effective in parts of the world but are extremely costly. We are in the midst of the deepest recession since the great depression, and World GDP is expected to fall by 4.9% in 2020, with two-digit declines in many countries (IMF 2020). A series of excellent papers suggest that the huge costs in terms of livelihoods are justified by the gains in terms of lives saved from the pandemic (e.g. Acemoglu et...

Read more about Horrible trade-offs in a pandemic: Analysis and policy implications

How should world channel aid to Lebanon in wake of blast?

August 13, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Anadolu Agency News

How should the world channel aid to Lebanon in wake of blast? Given the huge humanitarian and economic fallout from the deadly blast, one thing is clear: Lebanon will have to get a large injection of international aid. But with its government in tatters, how, and through whom?

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ricardo Hausmann, founder and director of the Growth Lab at Harvard's Center for International Development, said there is no easy solution for doing this without effective government.

Harvard researchers discover a surprising reason why Zoom and Skype won’t kill business travel

August 12, 2020

Fast Company

Business travel: Turns out it does more than just fill up the front half of the airplane.

It might actually do some good for the world, says a new study out of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Growth Lab, which finds a direct link—of causation, not correlation—between a country’s incoming business travel and its economic growth. The more business travelers a country received, the better its industrial ventures fared...

Read more about Harvard researchers discover a surprising reason why Zoom and Skype won’t kill business travel

New Harvard Research Identifies Business Travel as Driver of Economic Growth

August 11, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, MA – New research from Harvard’s Growth Lab finds a direct link between a country’s incoming business travel and the growth of new and existing industries. The findings, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, support a Growth Lab hypothesis that moving knowhow, the tacit knowledge accumulated and transferred from brain to brain through a long process of imitation, repetition, and feedback, is critical to economic growth, and business travel plays a key part in that process. The research also raises new concerns about the economic implications of the...

Read more about New Harvard Research Identifies Business Travel as Driver of Economic Growth

Why Zoom Can’t Save the World

August 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Before COVID-19, spending on business travel totaled $1.5 trillion a year (about 1.7% of world GDP). Now it is down to a trickle, as countries have closed their borders and social distancing has taken hold. Planes have been grounded, hotels are closed, and executives are not earning frequent flier miles. Many travel and hospitality jobs are feeling the consequences. But if this were all there was to it, the impact, however large, would probably be much smaller than the decline in general international tourism, and easily...

Read more about Why Zoom Can’t Save the World

The Road to COVID-19 Enlightenment

June 30, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

 Certainty is like a rainbow: wonderful but relatively rare. More often than not, we know that we don’t know. We may seek to remedy this by talking to people who may know what we want to know. But how do we know that they know? If we cannot ascertain whether they actually do know, we must trust them.

Historically, we have bestowed our trust on the basis of science, experience, or divine inspiration. But what if the knowledge we seek does not yet exist, and even science knows that it does not know what is being...

Read more about The Road to COVID-19 Enlightenment

Opponents of more IMF lending may have blood on their hands

June 18, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for the Financial Times

Time is at a premium in a pandemic. China’s slow response to the coronavirus in December and January cost the world dearly. So did the slow response in Europe and the US in February and March. But the world may not have learnt the lesson: the mistake appears to be happening once again, this time at the IMF.  By historical standards, the IMF has responded quickly and massively. In early April, it announced during its spring meetings that a major economic downturn was coming. It hurriedly revamped its rapid financing...

Read more about Opponents of more IMF lending may have blood on their hands

What Should We Be Preparing For?

May 27, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Suppose you knew that a hurricane was coming, but meteorologists were uncertain if it would make landfall as a Category 2 or a Category 5 storm. Which scenario should you prepare for?

The problem you face reflects the costs of assuming that it is a Category 5 when it is only a Category 2 and vice versa. The latter scenario implies deaths and destruction that could have been avoided through evacuations, well-supplied shelters, and precautionary shutdowns. The first scenario implies unnecessary preventive costs. In the...

Read more about What Should We Be Preparing For?

Pages