Is economic development easier now than 50 years ago?

Press Release – University of Canterbury

In the University of Canterburys 2018 Condliffe Lecture , Anne Krueger will explore the topic: Is it harder or easier to develop rapidly than it was a half century ago? in her talk on development and economic growth.
In the University of Canterbury’s 2018 Condliffe Lecture, Anne Krueger will explore the topic: “Is it harder or easier to develop rapidly than it was a half century ago?” in her talk on development and economic growth.

American economist Anne Osborn Krueger was the World Bank Chief Economist from 1982 to 1986, and the first deputy managing director of IMF from 2001 to 2006. She is currently professor of international economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC.

“Many policy makers and academics claim that changes in the global economy make the obstacles to rapid growth of poor countries even more challenging than it was a half century ago. They cite technological change, with emphasis on automation and IT replacements of both unskilled and middle income jobs, and on the emergence of China as a formidable competitor as major reasons,” Professor Krueger says.

“In this lecture, I shall argue that while the future is never entirely foreseeable, there are a number of considerations that point to greater ease of development now than in the past. These include: the diminishing rate of increase in populations in most low income countries; the fact that much more is understood now (albeit still imperfectly) about development (and especially how not to achieve it); that global markets are much larger; and obtaining information of all kinds is much easier.”

There are also some technological advances that make development easier: mobile phones; continuing discoveries of improved technology in agriculture; advances in materials sciences; and so on.

“This does not mean that development is easy. Mistakes can still be made. There is no avoiding the need to improve health and education and bring rural residents into more productive jobs outside farming. Competitive conditions in the world economy make the adoption of an appropriate set of economic policies even more critical than it was in earlier years. Temptations to resort to excessively expansionary fiscal and monetary policies are still attractive to politicians,” she says.

“Nonetheless, as the lessons from past experience are learned, those policy makers sufficiently committed to sustainable and rapid growth will be able to achieve results on a par, or better than, those that took place in the past.”

Condliffe Lecture 2018: Is it harder or easier to develop rapidly than it was a half century ago? by Professor Anne Krueger, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, United States, Wednesday, July 18, 5.30-6.30pm, E6 lecture theatre, Engineering Core building, Creyke Rd, University of Canterbury Ilam campus, Christchurch.
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