Ideas to action: independent research for global prosperity
The Post-COVID Consensus
October 02, 2023
Development economics is turning a full circle with a difference. This paper addresses the circling back to the policies in vogue during the 1980s and earlier, including industrial policies, coupled with protectionism; accounts for the regression to earlier certitudes after an extended spell of glob...
Policies at the End of the Global Value Chain Rainbow: What Has the World Bank Discovered?
June 29, 2023
The concept of global value chains (GVCs) has become a workhorse of trade analytics. But conceptual attractions aside, the use of GVCs for analytic purposes has not enlarged the policy toolkit, expanded the spectrum of usable policies, or enhanced their efficacy.
Can Fast-Growing Unicorns Revive Productivity and Economic Performance?
May 03, 2023
The productivity drought and the unending search for GDP growth by high- and middle-income countries has drawn attention to the flagging vigor of large incumbent corporations and the need to groom a crop of "unicorns"—highly valued, entrepreneurial, superstar firms can potentially dial up competitio...
It Is Time to Do Away with Special Economic Zones
April 06, 2023
Countries continue to bet on Special Economic Zones to improve their industrial prospects, but why? SEZs are a handy and politically expedient instrument of regional and industrial policies, but too often, countries continue to establish zones even though they've ceased to deliver the outcomes they...
Could Innovation and Productivity Drive Growth in African Countries? Lessons from Korea
March 07, 2023
The Korean model of development that flowered in the final third of the twentieth century remains a fertile source of lessons for countries in sub-Saharan Africa attempting to achieve sustainably high rates of growth. Korea relied on two principal drivers. One was a high level of investment in manuf...
Growth Performance of Middle-Income Countries: East Asia vs. Latin America
January 09, 2023
On balance, the Southeast Asian countries have done better than Latin American countries by pursuing export-led industrial strategies, however, unlike the Tigers, neither group has been able to enter the ranks of high-income countries. This note offers reasons for the shortfall in growth and briefly...
Shock-Proofing the Semiconductor Supply Chain: The Role of Industrial and Other Policies
November 29, 2022
The importance of semiconductors to the functioning of so many activities was brought home when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted production and trade. The shortage of semiconductors forced a cutback in the output of vehicles, consumer durables, and electronic equipment of all kinds, inflicting heavy ...
Is Pakistan a Normal Economy?
June 01, 2022
Simon Kuznets’ pathbreaking study of modern economic growth was published in 1966. In it and in preceding monographs he identified the salient characteristics of economic change based on data from national accounts, the construction of which he pioneered.
East Asian Cities: Past Development and Onrushing Challenges
March 04, 2022
The East Asian export-led development model has served as a beacon for decades. For the many urbanized and rapidly urbanizing countries, the East Asian experience with and response to emerging challenges can be equally instructive. High-income East Asian economies are at or approaching peak urbaniza...
Pakistan’s Crises: The Making of a Perfect Storm
February 24, 2022
The worldwide shock inflicted by COVID-19 had the making of a “perfect crisis:” the kind that should not be wasted. Indeed, it could serve as an opportunity to initiate major reforms. Unfortunately, Pakistan, like virtually all other countries, has permitted the opportunity to go waste. Pakistan may...