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Economic Fitness started as an academic project developed by the Physics Department of Sapienza (University of Rome) and the Institute for Complex Systems (National Council of Research, Italy) to study the complexity of Economic Systems and became the newest addition to the analytic toolbox of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) division of the World Bank Group (WBG).
The group combines researchers with internationally recognized expertise ranging from complex and dynamical systems to machine learning and network techniques – and even researchers with a more traditional economic background. In recent years the group has focused on applicative research with an eye to problem solving.
Our group coordinator, Prof. Luciano Pietronero, is a leading figure in the publicly funded CRISISLAB project (Italian Ministry of Education) and GrowthCom project (European Commission), both of which are central in the the European academic network addressing Economic Complexity and Global System Science. Both projects involve partnerships with renowned academic institutions and corporations (Alibaba) and set the state of the art in the discipline.
The work of the team resonated also outside the academic world. Our methodology was employed to collaborate with important private companies, spanning from oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell to consulting companies like the Boston Consulting Group, from investment funds like Azimut (Milan) to new Internet based firms like the LastMinute.com group. In everyone of these collaborations we aimed to solve a real-world practical issue. The knowledge acquired at every step has given us a different angle on economic dynamics while honing our technical skills and expanding our toolbox of algorithms.
The interest of the World Bank Group in Economic Fitness has implied a further leap for the team. Luciano Pietronero was named Senior Consultant for the International Finance Corporation division of the WBG in January 2016. The ongoing collaboration between the Economic Fitness group and the WBG has led several others of our researches to become consultants for the IFC.
Andrea Zaccaria is a researcher at the Institute for Complex Systems (ISC)-CNR and a consultant at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group.
He received his PhD in Physics at the "Sapienza" University of Rome, where he applied concepts and methods borrowed from Statistical Physics and the Physics of Complex Systems to the study of financial markets.
As a member of the research and development group of SoSE Spa, one of the main Italian fiscal agencies, he developed a machine learning algorithm to classify taxpayers and detect tax evasion.
His present work at ISC and IFC is focused on the Economic Complexity approach, and in particular on the application of complex networks methodologies, algorithmic tools, and machine learning to development economics.
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