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Structural Change, Fundamentals and Growth: A Framework and Case Studies

Listed author(s):
  • Margaret McMillan
  • Dani Rodrik
  • Claudia Sepulveda

Developing countries made considerable gains during the first decade of the 21st century. Their economies grew at unprecedented rates, resulting in large reductions in extreme poverty and a significant expansion of the middle class. But more recently that progress has slowed with an economic environment of lackluster global trade, not enough jobs coupled with skills mismatches, continued globalization and technological change, greater income inequality, unprecedented population aging in richer countries, and youth bulges in the poorer ones. This essay examines how seven key countries fared from 1990-2010 in their development quest. The sample includes seven developing countries—Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, India, Vietnam and Brazil —all of which experienced rapid growth in recent years, but for different reasons. The patterns of growth are analyzed in each of these countries using a unifying framework which draws a distinction between the “structural transformation” and “fundamentals” challenge in growth. Out of these seven countries, the traditional path to rapid growth of export oriented industrialization only played a significant role in Vietnam.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23378.

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Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23378
Note: DEV EFG PR
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  1. Margaret McMillan & Kenneth Harttgen, 2014. "Working Paper - 209 - What is driving the African Growth Miracle," Working Paper Series 2145, African Development Bank.
  2. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
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  5. Mundlak, Yair & Butzer, Rita & Larson, Donald F., 2012. "Heterogeneous technology and panel data: The case of the agricultural production function," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 139-149.
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  8. Marcel P. Timmer & Gaaitzen J. de Vries, 2009. "Structural change and growth accelerations in Asia and Latin America: a new sectoral data set," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 3(2), pages 165-190, June.
  9. Morten Jerven & Deborah Johnston, 2015. "Statistical Tragedy in Africa? Evaluating the Data Base for African Economic Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(2), pages 111-115, February.
  10. Margaret S. McMillan & Kenneth Harttgen, 2014. "What is driving the 'African Growth Miracle'?," NBER Working Papers 20077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
  12. Wright, Gavin, 1979. "Cheap Labor and Southern Textiles before 1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 655-680, September.
  13. Field, Alexander James, 1978. "Sectoral shift in antebellum Massachusetts: A reconsideration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 146-171, April.
  14. Mokyr, Joel, 1976. "Industrial Growth and Stagnation in the Low Countries, 1800–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 276-278, March.
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