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John Authers

Germany's Inconvenient Truth? It's Too Complicated

The country’s economic woes are a symptom of a more deep-rooted growth problem, Harvard research shows.

An unsettling diagnosis for Germany.

An unsettling diagnosis for Germany.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Can an economy exhaust itself? And what happens when a strategy that works well for decades finally meets the end of the road?

Harvard Kennedy School’s Atlas of Economic Complexity, an immense academic project aimed at understanding how and why countries develop, has some answers, and they are worrying. The Atlas, revised last month, crunches export data from the United Nations for every country on earth to produce minutely detailed accounts of what each country makes, and how it has developed. It is available free on the web, in a plethora of beautiful data visualizations, which entrepreneurs, economists, investors and finance ministers can all mine for ideas.