Sunday, January 5, 2014

Harvard MIT Atlas of Economic Complexity

This is an interesting effort to assess the complexity of production and the level of local production knowledge across the countries of the world. The index of economic complexity is derived from the diversity and ubiquity of the goods which countries export. The rich data available on world trade is the strength of the indicator but also its weakness. It doesn't take into account of course any of the sophistication a country might have on the service side of the economy or in non-tradables. Australia ranks very badly. Based on the index the Zimbabwean and Australian economies have the same level of sophistication. Australia's complexity has also declined as minerals have increasingly dominated exports over time. With the upcoming demise of Holden and Ford, Australia is going to look even less sophisticated. Obviously, the Australian economy doesn't produce as wide a range of sophisticated products as the major industrial exporters. Still, it does seem that it has more sophisticated knowledge than the developing economies it ranks with in this analysis.

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