The Observatory of Economic Complexity
The Observatory of Economic Complexity is a multidisciplinary effort between the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab and the Center for International Development at Harvard University. The goal of the observatory is to develop new tools that can help visualize and make sense of large volumes of data, such as the Product Space, that are relevant for macroeconomic development decision making.
Currently the observatory is serving more than 1,000,000 different interactive visualizations, connecting hundreds of countries to their export destinations and to the products that they trade.
The Observatory of Economic Complexity uses international trade data from Feenstra, Lipset, Deng, Ma, and Mo’s World Trade Flows: 1962-2000 dataset, cleaned and made compatible through a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) project. The dataset contains exports and imports both by country of origin and by destination. Products are disaggregated according to the Standardized International Trade Code at the four-digit level (SITC-4). Focusing on data from 1998-2000 yields 775 product classes and provides for each country the value exported to all other countries for each class.
Currently, data is available from 1962 through 2009.
Products, represented by rectangles, are drawn from the 775 individual product classes found in the Standardized International Trade Code at the four-digit level (SITC-4). The rectangle's color corresponds to the 34 product communities found in the Product Space and other visualizations from The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Product Exports Treemaps in the The Observatory of Economic Complexity graphically represent product's share of a nation's trade (imports or exports). The larger the size of the rectangle, the larger the product's share of that country's imports or exports.
An example from Benin in 2009 is shown on the right.
Additional visual representations include
- Complexity economics
- Economic Complexity Index
- List of countries by economic complexity
- List of countries by 2020 estimated GDP according to ECI
- R.R. Feenstra, H.D. Lipsey, A. Ma, H. Mo, HBER Work. Pap 11040 (2005).
- The Observatory of Economic Complexity
- Ricardo Hausmann, CA Hidalgo, et al., The Atlas of Economic Complexity, (2011) Puritan Press, Hollis New Hampshire. The Atlas of Economic Complexity
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