Ideas often come from unexpected quarters. Last week, Ricardo Hausmann came to the World Bank to talk about his work on economic complexity. I missed the seminar, but afterwards read his Atlas of Economic Complexity: Mapping Paths to Prosperity. (I had actually already looked at the stunning – but rather confusing charts – of his coauthor Cesar Hidalgo after reading Tim Harford’s great new book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.)
On the face of it, the Atlas of Economic Complexity doesn’t have a lot to do with the topic of this blog post – whether World Bank staff are under-specialized. But bear with me, and I hope I’ll convince you otherwise.