Commission on Growth and Development

75 items available

Permanent URI for this collection

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.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Equity and Growth in a Globalizing World : Commission on Growth and Development
    (World Bank, 2010) Kanbur, Ravi ; Spence, Michael
    The commission on growth and development was established in April 2006 in response to two insights: people do not talk about growth enough, and when they do, they speak with unearned conviction. The workshops turned out to be intense, lively affairs, lasting up to three days. It became clear that experts do not always agree, even on issues that are central to growth. But the Commission had no wish to disguise or gloss over these uncertainties and differences. And it did not want to present a false confidence in its conclusions beyond that justified by the evidence. While researchers will continue to improve people's understanding of the world, policy makers cannot wait for scholars to satisfy all of their doubts or resolve their differences. Decisions must be made with only partial knowledge of the world. One consequence is that most policy decisions, however well informed, take on the character of experiments, which yield useful information about the way the world works, even if they do not always turn out the way policy makers had hoped. It is good to recognize this fact, if only so that policy makers can be quick to spot failures and learn from mistakes. In principle, a commission on growth could have confined its attention to income per person, setting aside the question of how income is distributed. But this commission chose otherwise. It recognized that growth is not synonymous with development. To contribute significantly to social progress, growth must lift everyone's sights and improve the living standards of a broad swath of society. The Commission has no truck with the view that growth only enriches the few, leaving poverty undisturbed and social ills untouched.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Globalization and Growth - Implications for a Post-Crisis World : Commission on Growth and Development
    (World Bank, 2010) Spence, Michael ; Leipziger, Danny
    The commission on growth and development was established in April 2006 as a response to two observations. While the author felt that the benefits of growth were not fully appreciated, the author recognized that the causes of growth were not fully understood. Growth is often overlooked and underrated as an instrument for tackling the world's most pressing problems, such as poverty, illiteracy, income inequality, unemployment, and pollution. At the same time, understanding of economic growth is less definitive than commonly thought, even though advice sometimes has been given to developing countries with greater confidence than perhaps the state of our knowledge will justify. Consequently, the commission's mandate was to 'take stock of the state of theoretical and empirical knowledge on economic growth with a view to drawing implications for policy for the current and next generation of policy makers.' This mandate has even more significance in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis of 2008. As developing countries seek to repair the damage to their economies and to re-launch themselves on a sustained high-growth path, there has never been a greater need for fresh new ideas and approaches to achieving sustained high growth. There has been no dearth of commentary about what the crisis may mean, but in reality, until the bottom has been reached and the path to recovery is clear, it will be difficult to draw general lessons for the future. This collection of essays encompasses a variety of viewpoints and covers both medium- and long-term policy issues. It is said that more textbooks have become obsolete in 2009 than in any year since the great depression. As a corollary, much has been written that is worth reviewing in a volume on globalization. The papers look at the issue of globalization from diverse points of view and add insights and perspective to the recommendations of the growth report.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Financial Crisis and Global Governance: A Network Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010) Sheng, Andrew
    This paper attempts to use network theory, drawn from recent work in sociology, engineering, and biological systems, to suggest that the current crisis should be viewed as a network crisis. The author surveys the concepts of networks, their defining characteristics, applications to financial markets, and the need for supervision and implications for national and global governance. Then, author briefly examines the current financial crisis in the light of the network analysis and surveys the recent reforms in financial regulation and architecture. The paper concludes with an analysis of the policy implications of network analysis.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Urbanization and Growth : Commission on Growth and Development
    (World Bank, 2009) Spence, Michael ; Annez, Patricia Clarke ; Buckley, Robert M.
    Structural change is a key driver of rapid growth: countries diversify into new industries, firms learn new things, people move to new locations. Anything that slows this structural change is also likely to slow growth. Because urbanization is one of the most important enabling parallel processes in rapid growth, making it work well is critical. Urbanization's contribution to growth comes from two sources: the difference between rural and urban productivity levels and more rapid productivity change in cities. In the early decades of development, when the majority of the population is still rural, the jump from rural to urban employment makes a big contribution to growth. As cities grow larger, the second effect faster gains in urban productivity - begins to dominate, as it operates on a larger base. Mortgages can improve households' ability to buy decent housing. But finance relaxes demand constraints only. Unless it is accompanied by measures to increase supply, better finance may result in overshooting prices. This volatility can jeopardize macroeconomic stability. In a typical pattern, strong income growth leads to a rapid increase in housing demand. An injection of liquidity from some source, often overseas, may help over stimulate the market, leading to over optimism and a dangerous concentration of wealth in real estate.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Current Debates on Infrastructure Policy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Estache, Antonio ; Fay, Marianne
    This paper provides an overview of the major current debates on infrastructure policy. It reviews the evidence on the macroeconomic significance of the sector in terms of growth and poverty alleviation. It also discusses the major institutional debates, including the relative comparative advantage of the public and the private sector in the various stages of infrastructure service delivery as well as the main options for changes in the role of government (i.e. regulation and decentralization).
  • Thumbnail Image
    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).
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Investment Efficiency and the Distribution of Wealth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Banerjee, Abhijit V.
    The point of departure of this paper is that in the absence of effectively functioning asset markets the distribution of wealth matters for efficiency. Inefficient asset markets depress total factor productivity (TFP) in two ways: first, by not allowing efficient firms to grow to the size that they should achieve (this could include many great firms that are never started); and second, by allowing inefficient firms to survive by depressing the demand for factors (good firms are too small) and hence factor prices. Both of these effects are dampened when the wealth of the economy is in the hands of the most productive people, again, for two reasons: first, because they do not rely as much on asset markets to get outside resources into the firm; and second, because wealth allows them to self insure and therefore they are more willing to take the right amount of risk. None of this, however, tells us that efficiency enhancing redistributions must always be targeted to the poorest. There is some reason to believe that a lot of the inefficiency lies in the fact that many medium size firms are too small.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Public Finance and Economic Development: Reflections Based on the Experience in China
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Gordon, Roger H.
    Low tax revenue and slow economic growth are two central concerns in developing countries. However, policies that raise tax revenue also harm economic growth. With tax revenue coming mainly from large capital-intensive firms, and with a large informal sector, policies that aid large firms and policies that discourage entry of new firms both help increase tax revenue. Entrepreneurial activity as a result is discouraged, lowering growth. There is a basic tension in policy design between current tax revenue and economic growth. In fact, a loss in tax revenue can itself reduce growth, due to less spending on education and infrastructure. It can also undermine political support for the reforms from the poor and from government bureaucrats, both of whom are key beneficiaries of government expenditures. What policies encourage growth without undue loss of current expenditures? One is debt finance, but this creates the risk of a financial crisis if tax revenue rises too slowly to repay this debt. A second is user fees, but such fees still undermine political support from the poor. A third is partial reform, maintaining both higher taxes on and some protection for easily taxed firms, even while barriers to entry are eased.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    Eight Reasons We Are Given Not to Worry About the U.S. Deficits
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Frankel, Jeffrey
    The large U.S. current account deficit over the last decade-and the corresponding surpluses in China and elsewhere-has been interpreted in two very different ways. Many mainstream economists view the phenomena as primarily the outcome of a low rate of national saving in the United States, beginning with a large budget deficit (the other half of the 'twin deficits'). In this first view, the current account deficit is unsustainable, and will eventually result in a sharp depreciation of the dollar. But this unsustainability view has been challenged by a variety of other economists, with equally impeccable credentials. This paper enumerates eight arguments that they have given as to why we need not worry about the current account deficit. The paper is skeptical of all eight, and sides with the unsustainability view. But they deserve a hearing. The eight are: 1) the siblings are not twins; 2) alleged investment boom; 3) low U.S. private savings; 4) global savings glut; 5) its a big world; 6) valuation effects pay for it; 7) intermediation rents pay for it; and 8) second Bretton woods.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Publication
    A New Bretton Woods?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Rajan, Raghuram G.
    The Bretton Woods sisters, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (henceforth the World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were set up in 1944. The original purpose of the former was to help post-Second World War reconstruction; the purpose of the latter was to help revive global trade while averting the 'beggar-thy-neighbor' exchange rate policies that characterized the interwar years. Over the years, the World Bank has refocused on helping poor countries grow while the IMF broadly attempts to foster country policies that ensure macroeconomic stability and limit adverse spillovers to the rest of the world. While these roles still remain, their nature has changed somewhat. In particular, given the development of financial markets around the world, the primary role of these institutions has moved to shaping, guiding, supplementing, and stabilizing the flow of private finance rather than substituting fully for it. This paper focuses on the new ways multilateral institutions may have to perform old tasks, as well as the ways they could perform new tasks such as slowing climate change. Critical to their transformation will be the attitudes of the countries that play the largest role in their governance, as well as reform of the governance process itself.