Growth has accelerated in a wide range of developing countries over the last couple of decades, resulting in an extraordinary period of convergence with the advanced economies. We analyze this experience from the lens of structural change — the reallocation of labor from low- to high-productivity sectors.
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Patterns of structural change differ greatly in the recent growth experience. In contrast to the East Asian experience, none of the recent growth accelerations in Latin America, Africa, or South Asia was driven by rapid industrialization. Beyond that, we document that recent growth accelerations were based on either rapid within-sector labor productivity growth Latin America or growth-increasing structural change Africa , but rarely both at the same time. The African experience is particularly intriguing, as growth-enhancing structural change appears to have come typically at the expense of declining labor productivity growth in the more modern sectors of the economy.
We explain this anomaly by arguing that the forces that promoted structural change in Africa originated on the demand side, through either external transfers or increase in agricultural incomes.
In contrast to Asia, structural change was the result of increased demand for goods and services produced in the modern sectors of the economy rather than productivity improvements in these sectors. This paper develops a taxonomy of political regimes that distinguishes between three sets of rights - property rights, political rights and civil rights. The truly distinctive nature of liberal democracy is the protection of civil rights equal treatment by the state for all groups in addition to the other two.
The paper shows how democratic transitions that are the product of a settlement between the elite who care mostly about property rights and the majority who care about political rights , generically fail to produce liberal democracy. Instead, the emergence of liberal democracy requires low levels of inequality and weak identity cleavages. I distinguish between political and economic populism. Both are averse to agencies of restraint, or, equivalently, delegation to technocrats or external rules. In the economic domain, delegation to independent agencies domestic or foreign occurs in two different contexts: a in order to prevent the majority from harming itself in the future; and b in order to cement a redistribution arising from a temporary political advantage for the longer-term.
Economic policy restraints that arise in the first case are desirable; those that arise in the second case are much less so. We develop a conceptual framework to highlight the role of ideas as a catalyst for policy and institutional change. We make an explicit distinction between ideas and vested interests and show how they feed into each other.
In doing so the paper integrates the Keynes-Hayek perspective on the importance of ideas with the currently more fashionable Stigler-Becker in-terests only approach to political economy. We distinguish between two kinds of ideational politics — the battle among different worldviews on the efficacy of policy worldview politics versus the politics of victimhood, pride and identity identity politics. Our framework identifies a complementarity between worldview politics and identity politics and illustrates how they may reinforce each other.
In particular, an increase in identity polarization may be associated with a shift in views about how the world works. Furthermore, an increase in income inequality is likely to result in a greater incidence of ideational politics. 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 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.
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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