The Dynamics of Economic and Cultural Development

Prof. C. Hidalgo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The process of economic development is the process by which society accumulates knowledge and information while battling the eternal requirement for both knowledge and information to be physically embodied. In the presentation I will look at the dynamics of economic and cultural development by looking at the evolution of the networks connecting countries to the products they export and to their historical cultural production. I will show that both of these networks are characterized by a statistically significant degree of nestedness and a path dependent evolution, suggesting that constraints to the physical embodiment of tacit knowledge limit the development of both industrial structures and cultural production. In the case of industrial production, I show also that the structure of the network connecting countries to products is a strong predictor of future economic growth, after controlling for initial levels of income and education. In the case of cultural production, I show a strong correlation between the development of cultural domains and the emergence of different communication technologies. To conclude I will present three large data visualization efforts that we have constructed to make data on industrial and cultural production globally accessible. These sites are atlas.media.mit.edu, dataviva.info and pantheon.media.mit.edu.

About the speaker
César A. Hidalgo is the head of the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab and the ABC Career Development Professor at MIT.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 31 March 2014

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT