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Evaluating recipes for development success

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  • Dixit, Avinash

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the contradictions and conflicts in the literature on economic governance and sketches an approach to use some of the conceptual and empirical findings from that literature for development policy. The literature offers conflicting conclusions on big questions: whether history and geography preordain a country's economic fate, whether democracy or authoritarianism promotes growth; whether informal or formal mechanisms are best; whether"big bang"or gradual transitions promote growth; and whether disasters and demographics are stumbling blocks or stepping stones. The author finds recipes for success that are infeasible, contradictory and shifting, and that ignore the role of luck in development policy. While the researcher may ask,"What creates success on average across countries?"the policymaker needs to know,"What is going wrong in this country and how can we put it right?"The author suggests a preliminary approach to combine the practitioner's detailed knowledge of country conditions with the broader patterns uncovered by scholars, building on"growth diagnostics"that identify binding constraints to development. But he shifts from the sequential"decision tree"framework to a more directly"diagnostic"approach that recognizes that policymakers must deal with many factors simultaneously. The framework he suggests combines empirical information on potential causes, estimates of their probabilities, and observed effects. He proposes this framework as the foundation, not for another recipe, but for a broader mode of thought to tackle the complexity and variance in development processes and patterns across countries and time-one country at a time.

Suggested Citation

  • Dixit, Avinash, 2006. "Evaluating recipes for development success," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3859, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3859
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Khan Shahrukh Rafi, 2011. "Growth Diagnostics: The Puzzle of Pakistan's Lagging Economic Growth," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 1-19, December.
    2. World Bank, 2010. "Bhutan Investment Climate Assessment Report : Vitalizing the Private Sector, Creating Jobs, Volume 2," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12872, The World Bank.
    3. Abbott, Philip & Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Tarp, Finn, 2010. "IMF and economic reform in developing countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 17-26, February.
    4. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.
    5. Ricardo Hausmann & Bailey Klinger & Rodrigo Wagner, 2008. "Doing Growth Diagnostics in Practice: A 'Mindbook'," CID Working Papers 177, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. World Bank, 2010. "Bhutan Investment Climate Assessment Report : Vitalizing the Private Sector, Creating Jobs, Volume 1. Summary Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12871, The World Bank.
    7. World Bank, 2012. "Liberia : Inclusive Growth Diagnostics," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12609, The World Bank.
    8. Quibria, M.G. & Islam, Anika, 2014. "Aid Effectiveness in Bangladesh: Development with Governance Challenges," MPRA Paper 63759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. repec:eur:ejmsjr:404 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mujumdar, N.A., 2012. "India’s Development Drama 1991–2011: From Milton Friedman to Mahatma Gandhi," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 67(1).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Governance Indicators; National Governance; Children and Youth; Economic Theory&Research; Economic Policy; Institutions and Governance;

    JEL classification:

    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O29 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Other

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