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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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Setting Up a Modern Macroeconomic Policy Framework in Brazil, 1993-2004
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Werneck, Rogério L. F.
    This paper keeps an eye on the big picture and follows the long‐lived virtuous circle that, beginning in the mid‐1990s, led to the very successful setting up of a modern macroeconomic policy framework in Brazil, after a decade‐long effort involving four presidential terms. It is an eventful and far from linear history that calls attention to the role of leadership and the complex learning processes that may be involved in the improvement of the quality of economic policy.
  • Publication
    Chile's Growth and Development: Leadership, Policy-Making Process, Policies, and Results
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus
    This paper analyzes the relations between leadership, the policy making process, policies and institutions, and development results in Chile. It starts with a stylized model for the dynamics of development that derives a Kuznets type relation between growth and distribution of income, determined by the quality of leadership, the policy making process, institutions, and policies. This framework is applied to Chile, identifying the features of the policy making process and leadership that allowed for continuation of growth enhancing reform, with a stronger focus on equity goals, since the transition to democracy. As a result of three decades of reforms, Chile has recorded a quantum leap in economic growth, which is traced down to specific reforms. Yet Chile's equity experience is much more mixed: poverty has declined massively but income remains highly concentrated, a likely result of shortcomings in the quality of education and in labor markets. The paper reviews the major risks to the country's future development pace and points out the main reform challenges faced by policy makers.
  • Publication
    Growth Challenges for Latin America: What Has Happened, Why, and How to Reform the Reforms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Ffrench-Davis, Ricardo
    Latin America faces the twin challenges of achieving economic growth and reducing extreme inequality. Notwithstanding the heterogeneity among Latin American countries (LACs), most of them exhibit both: (i) low average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth; and (ii) increased inequality during the 1980s. This long period includes the 'lost decade,' when outcomes in both variables were evidently negative. These negative trends have persisted since the early 1990s, in the period of intense reforms under the Washington consensus. The development gap (difference in GDP per capita or per worker between rich countries and LACs) and the equity gap have broadened in this period. The report evaluate: (a) the macroeconomic environment in which agents make their decisions (usually in LACs, under an economic activity operating significantly below potential GDP, with outlier macro-prices, and fluctuating aggregate demand); (b) features of financial reforms (usually intensive in short-term segments and weak financing of risk and long-term financing), and their implications for capital formation and the distribution of opportunities in the domestic economy; (c) features of trade reforms (intensive in resource-based exports but low total output of tradable); and (d) the distribution of productivities, which is closely linked to the narrow space granted for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Publication
    Political Competition, Policy Making, and the Quality of Public Policies in Costa Rica
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Lehoucq, Fabrice
    This paper uses a case study of Costa Rica to identify the reasons why democracy is conducive for development. By the mid-twentieth century, Costa Rica had begun to depart from the all-too-common mixture of political instability and economic stagnation characteristic of much of the developing world. This paper claims that this country has benefited from better-than-average public policies, a conclusion based upon an original assessment of policy effectiveness and a major comparative ranking of state policies. It largely rejects the interpretation that uncommon development performance stems from institutions created during the colonial period and instead emphasizes how unending political stalemates gradually made the struggle for power more democratic. A central conclusion of this paper is that political competition-as well as steady economic growth rates and development, more generally-interact with and reinforce each other so that the exercise of power foments rather than retards economic growth.
  • Publication
    Does Crime Lower Growth?: Evidence from Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Cárdenas, Mauricio; Rozo, Sandra
    Many analysts consider that lack of security is a major obstacle to growth in Colombia. This paper identifies a structural downturn in economic growth-of nearly two percentage points per year-as a result of the increase in illicit crops and crime rates after 1980. A decline in total factor productivity has been the key channel linking crime and economic growth. Political upheavals and high levels of inequality and poverty motivated the adoption of a new constitution in 1991. The constitution mandated additional fiscal expenditures to curb social tensions. Major progress has been made in terms of public safety and, to a lesser extent, in the provision of health and education. However, long?run growth will continue to be constrained by inadequate transport infrastructure and low international trade volumes.
  • Publication
    Chilean Growth through East Asian Eyes
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Kharas, Homi; Leipziger, Danny; Maloney, William; Thillainathan, R.; Hesse, Heiko
    Chile could well have space to increase its growth potential by 2 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year. To do this, it would need to pay more attention to new sources of growth in natural resources, manufacturing, and services. In an increasingly globalized world, first-mover advantages have become more numerous and larger. Chile risks losing out, as a few recent high-profile cases suggest. Chile's total factor productivity growth can be raised by driving within-firm technological change closer to the global best-practice frontier more rapidly, especially in manufacturing. This would encourage the diversification of exports and boost Chile's supply response to global demand changes. Chile confronts obstacles in its processes of innovation, human capital accumulation, and investment. To overcome them, deep institutional changes are needed to develop a national innovation system, stronger and more equitable educational achievement, more flexible labor markets, and focused public investments that crowd in private business. Such an inclusive growth strategy is likely to yield better social outcomes than a strategy that attempts to confront social inequities head-on through more equitable access to public services without paying adequate attention to the demand for labor and generation of income. Chile could also try a new policy towards innovation, but it would need to be bolder in terms of the institutional design to maximize the chances of success.