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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    Post-Crisis Growth in Developing Countries : A Special Report of the Commission on Growth and Development on the Implications of the 2008 Financial Crisis
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2010) Commission on Growth and Development
    In May 2008, the Commission released the growth report: strategies for sustained growth and inclusive development. At that time, the financial systems of the United States and Europe were under stress. Commodity prices were also spiking, posing particular difficulties for developing countries because of the impact on the poor and on potential future inflation. But no one foresaw the full magnitude of the crisis that erupted in the fall of 2008, more than a year ago. The crisis was a destructive malfunction of the financial sectors of the advanced economies, which spread rapidly to the real economy and to the rest of the globe. Even countries far from the source of the crisis had to cope with capital volatility, tight credit, and rapidly falling trade. At the request of several members of the Commission, Commission held a workshop on the crisis and its implications for developing countries. Commission followed standard procedure of asking for help and insight from a distinguished group of scholars, analysts, and practitioners. This report is an outgrowth of that process. It is an attempt to look at the crisis and its aftermath from the point of view of developing countries. Commission wanted to assess the impact of these events, and determine if the growth strategies recommended needed major revision, or some adaptive fine tuning. Commission also wanted to think more carefully about resilience, and what it might mean for successful sustained growth. The report that follows is a summary of thinking on these and related questions.
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    The Growth Report : Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Commission on Growth and Development
    The report has four main parts. In the first, the commission reviews the 13 economies that have sustained, high growth in the postwar period. Their growth models had some common flavors: the strategic integration with the world economy; the mobility of resources, particularly labor; the high savings and investment rates; and a capable government committed to growth. The report goes on to describe the cast of mind and techniques of policy making that leaders will need if they are to emulate such a growth model. It concludes that their policy making will need to be patient, pragmatic, and experimental. In the second part, the commission lays out the ingredients a growth strategy might include. These range from public investment and exchange rate policies to land sales and redistribution. A list of ingredients is not enough to make a dish, of course, as Bob Solow, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a member of the Commission, points out. The commission, however, refrains from offering policy makers a recipe, or growth strategy, to follow. This is because no single recipe exists. Timing and circumstance will determine how the ingredients should be combined, in what quantities, and in what sequence. Formulating a full growth strategy, then, is not a job for this Commission but for a dedicated team of policy makers and economists, working on a single economy over time. Instead of a country-specific recipe, the commission offers some more general thoughts on the opportunities and constraints faced by nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, countries rich in resources, small states with fewer than 2 million people, and middle-income countries that have lost their economic momentum. In the final part of the report, the commission discusses global trends that are beyond the control of any single developing-country policy maker. Global warming is one example; the surge in protectionist sentiment another; the rise of commodity prices a third. In addition, the commission discusses the aging of the world population and the potential dangers of America's external deficit. These trends are new enough that the 13 high-growth economies of the postwar period did not have to face them. The question is whether they now make it impossible for other countries to emulate that postwar success.