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Competitiveness and Pakistan: A Dangerous, Distorting, and Dead-End Obsession?

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  • Matthew McCartney

    () (Lecturer, Wolfson College, University of Oxford)

Abstract

Competitiveness has become a mantra and organizing framework for much government policymaking in Pakistan and beyond. Rarely does anyone question the concept and use of the competitiveness paradigm itself. Krugman (1994) argues that this ”obsession with competitiveness is both wrong and dangerous.” This article draws from Krugman’s work and examines the use (or abuse) of the concept of competitiveness in the context of contemporary Pakistan. We focus on three recent and influential reports on competitiveness in Pakistan by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and Competitiveness Support Fund, and agree with Krugman’s negative view.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew McCartney, 2012. "Competitiveness and Pakistan: A Dangerous, Distorting, and Dead-End Obsession?," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 17(Special E), pages 213-241, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:lje:journl:v:17:y:2012:i:sp:p:213-241
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    3. Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "Growth Strategies," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 967-1014 Elsevier.
    4. Rashid Amjad, 2005. "Skills and Competitiveness: Can Pakistan Break Out of the Low-Level Skills Trap?," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 44(4), pages 387-409.
    5. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    6. Mohsin S. Khan, 2005. "Human Capital and Economic Growth in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 44(4), pages 455-478.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew McCartney, 2015. "The Missing Economic Magic: The Failure of Trade Liberalization and Exchange Rate Devaluation in Pakistan, 1980–2012," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 20(Special E), pages 59-86, September.
    2. Matthew McCartney, 2016. "Costs, Capabilities, Conflict and Cash: The Problem of Technology and Sustainable Economic Growth in Pakistan," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 21(Special E), pages 65-98, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competitiveness; policy; Pakistan.;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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