Commission on Growth and Development

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The Growth Commission’s reports identify the ingredients that, if used in the right country-specific recipe, can deliver growth and help lift populations out of poverty. The Commission, consisting of 19 experienced leaders and 2 Nobel prize-winning economists, has released several commission reports, thematic volumes, and background working papers. The spring 2010 volume is the final book from the Commission. The Commission is succeeded by The Growth Dialogue.

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    Institutional Change, Policy Challenges, and Macroeconomic Performance: Case Study of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979-2004)
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Hakimian, Hassan
    Debates over the nature and direction of economic policy in Iran have intensified rather than abated after the tumultuous changes brought about by the revolution in 1979. In the span of these three decades, Iran has witnessed sweeping institutional changes and has been affected by significant economic and political upheavals. At the macroeconomic level, too, there have been a number of shocks ranging from oil booms and busts, to war (with Iraq), trade sanctions, and internal political strife. This paper uses Iran's experience to reflect on growth and development in the context of political upheaval and an uncertain institutional environment. It is a premise of the paper that Iran's recent past presents a rare, 'laboratory' like, case for the study of growth and development in a broad context. This paper examines post-revolutionary Iran's macroeconomic policies and performance in a comparative context, appraising it against Iran's past trends and real potential. It shows how recurrent cycles of populism and pragmatism have characterized this period. The paper argues that two sets of factors have conditioned Iran's performance and will continue to taint her prospects for sustainable growth into the future. These are: (i) Iran's limited economic diversification and continued dependence on the oil sector, and (ii) the institutional setting in which post-revolutionary economic policies have been formulated and implemented for much of the last three decades.
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    Economic Growth in Egypt: Impediments and Constraints (1974-2004)
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) El Beblawi, Hazem
    The paper focuses its analysis on the last three decades of the twentieth century. The basic assumption is that Egypt's economic performance during this period was less than satisfactory compared with the most successful examples in the far East and elsewhere. The paper also assumes that Egypt's initial conditions at midcentury compared favorably with the winners in the development race at the end of the century. Egypt has achieved positive progress, no doubt, yet compared with the higher performers in Asia, and given its favorable good initial conditions, the record seems quite mediocre. By mid-twentieth century, Egypt's agriculture had almost reached its limits. Egypt, therefore, faced a new challenge: a need to transform itself into an industrial society. This objective was only partially achieved. The paper identifies three interrelated factors that helped hinder Egypt's accession to a new industrial society. The first factor is a strong state and a weak society. An authoritarian state that in its endeavor to preserve its prerogatives had to give up good governance practices and limit the creative initiative of the individuals. The second factor is a semi-rentier economy. The availability of windfall revenues not only reduced the pressure for change but also promoted a new rentier mentality that undermined the emergence of an industrial spirit. The third factor is an inadequate education system. This system failed to provide the proper skills and values required for the industrial society. These factors, moreover, are interdependent and reinforce each other.