[gov3009-l] Hidalgo on "The Structure of Economic Complexity"

Matt Blackwell mblackwell at iq.harvard.edu
Tue Sep 21 14:25:31 EDT 2010

Hi all,

We hope you can join us for the Applied Statistics Workshop of the
year this Wednesday, September 22nd, when we will be happy to have
César A. Hidalgo presenting a paper entitled "The Structure of
Economic Complexity." César is an Assistant Professor at the MIT Media
Lab, where he leads the Macro Connections group, and a faculty
associate at Harvard University’s Center for International Development
Details of his talk and an abstract are below. The workshop begins at
12 noon and we will serve a light lunch. Hope to see you there!

"The Structure of Economic Complexity"
César A. Hidalgo
Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
September 22nd, 2010, 12 noon
K354 CGIS Knafel (1737 Cambridge St)

With billions or products, billions of people, and trillions of
interactions, the world economy is one of the most outstanding complex
systems to have ever emerged. Can we use complexity science to improve
our understanding of a system of such paramount complexity? In this
talk I summarize recent research that uses networks to describe,
characterize and understand differences in the productive structure of
nations and their evolution. First, I show how the complexity of an
economy can be quantified by looking at the structure of the network
connecting countries to the products they export and that countries
tend to approach a level of income which is dictated by the complexity
of their economies. Then, I show how development is constrained by a
projection of this network into the space of products, or Product
Space, by demonstrating empirically that the evolution of countries
comparative advantage is constrained by the structure of this network.
To conclude I present a simple model that can account for some of the
stylized facts that we uncover from our analysis and discuss how
strategy and policy can be reinterpreted from this alternative


Matthew Blackwell
PhD Candidate
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Department of Government
Harvard University
url: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~blackwel/

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