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 - 8 of 8
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Publication
    The Real Exchange Rate and Economic Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Eichengreen, Barry
    The real exchange rate was not at the center of the first generation of neoclassical growth models, nor was it prominent among the policy prescriptions that flowed from those models. Recent analyses, in contrast, have paid it more attention. This paper analyzes the role of the real exchange rate in the growth process, the channels through which the real exchange rate influences other variables, and policies useful (and not useful) for governing the real rate. An appendix provides econometric evidence supportive of the emphases in the text.
  • Publication
    Finance, Financial Sector Policies, and Long-Run Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli
    In this paper, authors first review the literature on the relation between finance and growth. Theory provides ambiguous predictions concerning the question of whether financial development exerts a positive, causative impact on long-run economic growth. The second part of this paper reviews the literature on the historical and policy determinants of financial development. Governments play a central role in shaping the operation of financial systems and the degree to which large segments of the financial system have access to financial services. The authors discuss the relationship between financial sector policies and economic development. The remainder of the paper proceeds as follows. Sections one and two review theory and evidence on the relation between finance and growth. Section three turns to an examination of financial sector policies, and section four concludes.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    Policy Change and Economic Growth: A Case Study of South Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Faulkner, David; Loewald, Christopher
    South Africa's growth experience provides an example of how contrasting growth trends long-term decline followed by improved growth pivot around political change, in this case a transition to democracy. In the decade prior to 1994, South Africa experienced the worst period of economic growth since the end of the Second World War, with growth variable and declining. The proximate causes of slowing growth were trade and financial sanctions in opposition to the Apartheid government, political instability and macroeconomic policy decisions that resulted in higher inflation, increased uncertainty, and declining investment. Democracy has proved critical for, among other factors, creating the possibility of a peaceful and more stable future and reversing investor sentiment at a basic level. Political and economic leadership have been essential for improving the country's growth performance because of the effect on policy formulation, institutional development, regulatory design, and economic vision. Prudent fiscal policy and sound macroeconomic management have been critical factors in creating an environment conducive to growth by stabilizing economic conditions, lowering the user cost of capital, and putting downward pressure on the real exchange rate. This case study provides some insight into a more general perspective on political and economic transition and some of the key macro- and microeconomic policy shifts that need to occur to realize a more rapid and sustained growth path.
  • Publication
    Battles Half Won: The Political Economy of India's Growth and Economic Policy since Independence
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Ahmed, Sadiq; Varshney, Ashutosh
    Rapid growth since 1980 has transformed India from the world's 50th ranked economy in nominal U.S. dollars to the 10th largest in 2005. The growth of per capita income has helped reduce poverty. At the same time, evidence suggests that income inequality is rising and that the gap in average per capita income between the rich and poor states is growing. This paper reviews India's long term growth experience with a view to understanding the determinants of growth and the underlying political economy. The paper looks specifically at the political economy of India's growth transformation from a low-growth environment (pre-1980s) to a rapid-growth environment (post 1980s) and asks how sustainable is this transformation in view of concerns about regional disparity and income inequality. The paper concludes that the pledge that India's post-independence leadership had undertaken to abolish mass poverty remains only partially redeemed. Half the battle still lies ahead. Many more would like the fruits of the economic boom to come to them. The greatest challenge for India's policy makers today is to balance the growth momentum with inclusionary policies.
  • Publication
    Exports of Manufactures and Economic Growth: The Fallacy of Composition Revisited
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Cline, William R.
    The author's 1982 article on the fallacy of composition questioned the feasibility of generalizing the "G4" (Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan (China)) growth model based on rapid growth of exports, on grounds that if all developing economies pursued it, their combined manufactured exports would eventually trigger protection in industrial countries. The1984 book of author identified a safe speed limit of about 10-15 percent annually for growth of developing country exports of manufactures, well below the 25-35 percent rate of Korea and Taiwan, China in the 1960s and 1970s. This study revisits this question in the light of a quarter-century of experience. It finds that developing countries' aggregate manufactured exports grew at about 10 percent annually, a robust pace but within the speed limits he had envisioned. Even so, in key sectors such as apparel, import penetration levels have exceeded thresholds that his earlier estimates would have suggested would provoke protection, suggesting the importance of increased World Trade Organization (WTO) discipline. The base of manufactured exports from poor countries remains small relative to that of China and the original G4, so there should be considerable room for export growth from these newcomers. However, a new macroeconomic version of the fallacy of composition problem could arise: the growing tendency of China and some other major emerging market economies to pursue rapidly rising trade surpluses that have their counterpart in an increasingly unsustainable U.S. current account deficit.