The Atlas of Economic Complexity 2.0 Offers Bigger, Faster Visualizations and New Datasets

Visualize any country’s economic history and map their future with Harvard data-viz tool


Cambridge, MA - The Atlas of Economic Complexity, the dynamic, open source data visualization tool produced by Harvard’s Center for International Development (CID), now offers an enhanced design that delivers bigger visualizations with more detailed information and flexible interactions. Updated with 2016 trade data, Atlas 2.0 provides more than 50 years of global trade dynamics across 900+ products for every country.

The Atlas combines trade data with synthesized insights from CID’s research on Economic Complexity to help answer questions such as:

  • What does a country export and import?
  • What are the drivers of export growth?
  • Which new industries are likely to emerge to drive growth in a country?
  • What are the growth projections of each country based on their economic complexity and the ease of diversifying?
CID researchers maintain that Economic Complexity

can predict future growth five times more accurately than

the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index

"The Atlas is a vital resource in our work towards helping countries unlock new paths to growth," said Ricardo Hausmann, director of CID. "I’m excited and confident these upgrades will enhance our work and the work of policymakers, investors, and researchers around the globe who share our mission."

The Atlas can generate six types of visualizations:

Tree Map

Tree Map.pngBreakdown of exports/imports by country/product, in a given year

Geo Map

Geo Map.pngDisplays shares of country trade with other countries or by product, in a given year

Stacked Graph

Stacked Map.pngDisplays breakdown of exports/ imports by country/product, over time

Product Space

Product Space.pngDepicts connectedness between products & visualizes paths to diversification


Feasibility.png Displays a country's opportunities for diversification based on current exports


Rings.png Displays a selected product's nearby or related exports, for a given country


For example, when exploring Sri Lanka, the Tree Map reveals that Textiles and Furniture make up nearly 48% of Sri Lanka’s exports in 2016. The Geo Map shows the U.S., U.K. and India as its top trading partners. The Stacked Graph displays growth of nearly $2 billion in Textile exports from 2000 to 2016. The Product Space shows heavy clustering of Sri Lanka’s exports in Textiles and Agriculture, but with a few isolated rubber products that are well connected to more complex sectors.

The Rings feature allows users to explore these connections, where the existing Compounded Rubber sector opens possibilities of moving into Electrical Signalling Equipment and Vulcanized Rubber Tubes, by requiring similar productive capabilities. The Feasibility Graph similarly points to Vulcanized Rubber Thread and Steam Condensers as products with higher potential of success by relying on similar capabilities to those that already exist, while promising new job creation and income gains to accelerate growth.

The Atlas also ranks countries and products by their complexity, and its researchers generate an annual report of the fastest growing economies.

Atlas 2.0 also provides a much faster and more fluid user experience, new ways to download and share visualizations, and resources for learning about CID’s multi-disciplinary research on economic growth.

About the Center for International Development
The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.

Contact: Chuck McKenney
Phone: (617) 495-8496
Date: Oct 31, 2017