That was the title of a self-published book of essays. The title has a double meaning. One meaning is that one can learn (some) economics from reading the book. The other is that an economy is a learning mechanism.

Anyway, The WSJ blog reports on an intriguing study that pertains to this notion.

“The Atlas of Economic Complexity” ranks 128 nations based on their “productive knowledge” — the skills, experience and general know-how that a given population acquires in producing certain goods. Countries with a high score in the report’s “economic complexity index” have acquired years of knowledge in making a variety of products and goods and also have lots of room for growth. Essentially, the more collective knowledge a country has in producing goods, the richer it is — or will be.

“The essential theory … is that countries grow based on the knowledge of making things,” Mr. Hausmann said in a phone interview. “It’s not years of schooling. It’s what are the products that you know how to make. And what drives growth is the difference between how much knowledge you have and how rich you are.”