31 October 2013

The Mr. Miyagi Theory of Economic Development

Very interesting hypothesis from Ricardo Hausmann on Project Syndicate.
The bottom line is that urbanization, schooling, and Internet access are woefully insufficient to transmit effectively the tacit knowledge required to be productive. That is why today’s emerging markets are so much less productive than rich countries were in 1960, even though the latter were less urban, had higher birth rates and less formal schooling, and used much older technologies. 
The policy implications are clear. Knowhow resides in brains, and emerging and developing countries should focus on attracting them, instead of erecting barriers to skilled immigration. They should tap into their diasporas, attract foreign direct investment in new areas, and acquire foreign firms if possible. Knowledge moves when people do.
The Karate Kid reference is from the very entertaining powerpoint here.

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