The Elusive Quest for Growth - Economists Adventures & Misadventure in the Tropics (Anglais) Broché – 2 septembre 2002
Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble
Les clients ayant acheté cet article ont également acheté
Descriptions du produit
Pour obtenir l'appli gratuite, saisissez votre adresse e-mail ou numéro de téléphone mobile.
Détails sur le produit
En savoir plus sur l'auteur
Dans ce livre(En savoir plus)
The typical rate of infant mortality in the richest fifth of countries is 4 out of every 1,000 births; in the poorest fifth of countries, it is 200 out of every 1,000 births. Lire la première page
Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
Quels sont les autres articles que les clients achètent après avoir regardé cet article?
Commentaires en ligne
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
William Easterly is a Senior Advisor in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. In his first book, he asks why trillion dollars of foreign aid to the countries of the "third world" since WWII have caused essentially no improvement in the quality of life for the people in these countries. I found the writing lucid and the many real stories of poverty and corruption both emotionally powerful and insightful.
Emphasizing a key mantra of economics -- people respond to incentives -- he details the long list of foreign aid tactics that have failed: capital investment (machines, factories, roads), education, birth control, loans, and loan forgiveness. Not that any of the tactics are bad, but rather they are ineffectual in a country lacking key social, political, and economic infrastructure.
Easterly then describes in detail the factors at play in driving growth: increasing returns (Leaks, Matches, Traps), creative destruction through technology, luck, governments kill growth, government corruption, and class and race conflicts.
Easterly shows that achieving economic growth is very difficult, but he does a great job of identifying the key systemic issues that poor countries must address.
Perhaps surprisingly, Easterly's model applies equally well to the economic disparities that exist within countries, even "rich" countries like the United States. The increasing returns model says that highly-skilled people will prefer to live and work with one another ("Matches"), as each of them will be more productive for being around other highly-skilled individuals. So this explains, for example, why areas like Silicon Valley, having once achieved critical mass, continue to grow. And why low-income inner-city and rural areas remain depressed ("Traps").
While one can quibble with the specifics of some of his analysis, the overall effect is a compelling, authoritative book that makes it impossible to avoid facing the fact that the current aid framework needs a radical overhaul. The aid industry has spent about 1 trillion dollars over the last forty years, and the returns have been disappointing. Fortunately, Easterly points the way toward the beginning of a new wardrobe. There's bad news and good news. The bad news is that nearly all of the theories that drive the design of aid programs are not borne out by the experience to date. Most fundamentally, the formal mathematical models underlying the macroeconomic analyses of organizations such as the World Bank and IMF are built on two plausible but wrong assumptions.
The first of these is that investment drives growth. Unfortunately, the record shows that investment only drives growth in those few cases where it is made in conjunction with appropriate technology, know-how, and a sound overall economic policy environment. The second wrong assumption is that aid increases investment. Extensive analysis indicates that most governments simply consume rather than invest the aid they receive. The striking thing about these two faulty pillars of the development paradigm is that even the best aid organizations continue to use a framework that they know is wrong. Easterly also takes a sober look at fads that have swept through the field of development. The first of these is education. Many people argued that investment in basic education is the key to stimulating growth, and this has led to massive investments and high hopes. Unfortunately, in retrospect the evidence shows little correlation between education investment and growth.
The same holds true with population control, where the link between population dynamics and growth has proven to be far more complex that originally expected. Easterly does not conclude that the evidence shows that education or population planning is unimportant; to the contrary, they can be effective but only in a broader context where other important conditions are also present.
What are some of these broader conditions that must be in place? Fortunately, we have made some progress in understanding what helps counties develop economically and socially. In particular, there is strong evidence that economic growth is the best way of reducing poverty in developing countries. Contrary to what many think, a one percent increase in overall income in a country tends to translate into a one percent increase in the income of the poorest. And we do know that economic growth itself requires countries to maintain policies that avoid certain pitfalls-in particular, high inflation and budget deficits, excessive black market premiums for their local currencies, negative real interest rates, corruption, and restrictive trade policies.
If we know at least the minimum policies required for growth and poverty reduction, then why don't most countries adopt them? Thus began another chapter in the history of development aid. Beginning in the 1980s, the World Bank, IMF, and others launched a large number of 'structural adjustment' programs designed to support countries' adoption of these policies.
Twenty years later, it is clear, however, that many of these programs were ineffective. There is little evidence that aid has had any influence on countries' policies. Instead, policies seem to be driven by the self-interest of the policy makers and the interests they represent. Easterly's refrain in the book is that 'people respond to incentives,' and this is clearly true at the macro-policy level as well as the household level.
One leading edge of thinking about development draws on the simple observation that people tend to associate with people like themselves. Well educated people with access to financial resources, technology, and know-how-some of the main ingredients for economic growth-tend to congregate with and learn from each other. This creates a virtuous cycle for them. Unfortunately the same dynamics hold for the poor. The poor, who tend to be less well educated, have less access to financial resources, technology, and know-how, also tend to congregate with each other. Consequently, the opportunities for learning, investment, and growth are lower. This raises the obvious question of how we can increase interaction between rich and poor, between the more advantaged and less advantaged.
This leads us to the current state of affairs, and ironically offers hope for a common ground between traditional policy economists and the critics of aid and globalization. Many of the critics are implicitly or explicitly arguing against corruption and/or policies that are implemented in a way that make the rich richer and the poor poorer-something that the policy economists agree with. Few people nowadays would disagree on the desirability of low inflation and budget deficits, a fairly valued currency, interest rates that encourage savings, and trade policies that don't force consumer to overpay and that give incentives for people to produce and export goods that can generate wealth.
The real issue is: How do we get governments to adopt these policies? And how can countries put in place the institutional capacity and governance arrangements that will ensure that good policies are fairly implemented? And how can we increase the direct connections between rich people and poor people?
These are as much political and social challenges as they are economic ones. And they require the policy economists and social activists not to butt their heads together, but to put their heads together to find a solution.
Easterly's aim - in which he succeeds brilliantly - is to show the self-defeating nature of most conventional prescriptions for development, notably foreign aid, investment in technology, education, population control and debt forgiveness. Against all these chimeras - many, if not all, of which, are desirable in their own right in some circumstances - he poses the economic common sense of provision of incentives. The argument is complex but two of Easterley's observations are especially worth noting.
The professional (and almost always economically-untrained) development lobbyists are fond of arguing that what they tendentiously call the neo-liberal consensus ignores the poorest. Easterley demonstrates that this is untrue, citing the work of David Dollar and Aart Kray of the World Bank, who have found that global poverty is attributable, rather, to lack of growth. Using statistical techniques to isolate the direction of causation, these analysts find that a 1 per cent increase in per capita growth in the developing countries causes a 1 per cent rise in the incomes of the poor.
Secondly, debt cancellation has become a fashionable cause for development lobbyists and the Churches - unaware, apparently, that the idea has been tried for at least 20 years (I recall it very well from my time at the Debt and Capital Markets Group at the Bank of England in the 1980s) and has resulted in a self-perpetuating cycle of bad lending. Eaterley's proposal is to tie lending to past performance (i.e. good economic management) to give Third World governments an incentive to pursue growth-creating policies. The alernative - unconditional debt forgiveness - would damage Third World living standards by ensuring a rise in developing countries' cost of capital. Easterley does not spell it out, but affluent western campaigners' demanding a course of action that the Third World would end paying a high cost for is not the most edifying of spectacles.
This book puts paid to much self-serving nonsense. It is a rare gem in a quarry of dross.
My only problem with the book is that the author is still rather hung up on the singularity of growth as the panacea for allevaiting poverty. While growth could be sufficent condition for alleviating poverty in many cases it might not be a necessary condition in all cases. The author also neglects environmental concerns that are often not properly internalized in short-term growth models.
I am also wondering what the World Bank establishment have to say about this. Some of the conclusions are so simple, that I am left to wonder why didn't all these smart people "get it?" Perhaps the Bank has its own set of counter-arguments for Easterle's specific examples, which I will continue to explore.
Nevertheless, this is a good read and gives much food for thought.
Rechercher des articles similaires par rubrique
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Boutiques > Chercher au Coeur! > Livres en anglais
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Business & Investing > Economics > Development & Growth
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Business & Investing > Economics > Economic Policy & Development
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Business & Investing > Economics > Theory
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Business & Investing > Popular Economics