The Growth Lab hosts an interdisciplinary team that iterates between theory and practice of economic development to improve our understanding of how economies grow.

Our trademark methodologies, Economic Complexity and Growth Diagnostics, have revolutionized development thinking and inspired many places to reconsider their economic strategies.

Research Questions We Seek To Answer

What kinds of processes do countries, regions, and cities use to diversify their productive capacity and accumulate productive knowledge in order to accelerate growth?

How can migration and mobility help foster economic development and how do complementary skills impact labor market dynamics?

What is the role of special economic zones in tackling product diversification opportunities and how does it impact knowledge transfer and migration?

How can countries prioritize key policy decisions and sequencing to achieve their long-term strategy?

Academic Research

Our multidisciplinary team is working to uncover the mechanisms behind economic growth. Our three research pillars are: Economic Transformation; Diffusion of Knowledge and Technology; and Coordination of Knowhow. 

Policy Research

We are developing rigorous place-specific research on the constraints to sustained shared prosperity, translating these insights into inputs for policy design and collaborating with practitioners to learn from the process of implementation. 

Research Spotlight


Tall buildings in Al Abdali district of Amman Jordan

What Will It Take for Jordan to Grow?

The Jordanian economy has experienced more than a decade of slow growth. Per capita income today is lower than it was before the Global Financial Crisis and Jordan’s comparative advantages have narrowed. Our researchers identify clear and significant opportunities for Jordan to strengthen new engines of export growth that would enable better overall job creation and resilience, even amidst the continued unpredictability of the pandemic.

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Data Viz

New Economic Complexity Index Country Rankings & 2030 Growth Projections

China, Vietnam, Uganda, Indonesia, and India are projected to be among the fastest-growing economies to 2030, according to new growth projections in the Atlas of Economic Complexity. The release provides the first detailed look at 2020 trade data, including major disruptions to tourism and transport vehicle exports from the global pandemic. 


Oil/Gas well in Siberia Russia

'Smart Sanctioning' Russian Oil and Gas

As the war in Ukraine continues, Russia’s oil and gas exports remain an important lifeline. With the EU buying 75% of Russian gas exports and 50% of Russian oil exports, European governments are under increased pressure to scale up their energy sanctions. In this new research paper, Ricardo Hausmann, Ulrich Schetter, et al, explain why an import tariff, not an embargo, could be the most efficient way to sanction Russian energy.

Read the Paper    Read the Science e-Letter