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Wing Thye Woo University of California, Davis
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Wing Thye Woo University of California, Davis

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  1. Different Roles for the State at Different Times and in Different Places – illustrations from debates in Development Economics Wing Thye Woo University of California, Davis Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing wtwoo@ucdavis.edu Panel “Growth and Recession: The State versus the Market” at Singapore Economic Review Conference, 6-8 August 2009

  2. Development economics repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce[format is from the opening sentences of Karl Marx’s “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (1852)] • First Wave: Part of movement to replace neoclassical economics – Keynesian macroeconomics for the First World, and Development Economics for the Third World • Second Wave: Subsumed both as applications of neoclassical economics – Monetarist and New Classical counter-revolutions in macro, and Washington Consensus for development economics

  3. Washington Consensus Mark 1: The First Three of the Ten Commandments Washington Consensus I (emerged in mid-1960s, comparative studies on trade regimes e.g. Balassa, Krueger, Bhagwati): Get the prices rightand get the government out of the way • Fiscal discipline. • A redirection of public expenditure priorities toward fields offering both high economic reforms and the potential to improve income distribution, such as primary health care, primary education, and infrastructure. • Tax reform (to lower marginal rates and broaden the tax base)

  4. Washington Consensus Mark 1: The 6th to 10th Commandments 4. Interest rate liberalization. 5. A competitive exchange rate. 6. Trade liberalization. 7. Liberalization of inflows of direct foreign investment 8. Privatization. 9. Deregulation (to abolish barriers to entry and exit) 10. Secure property rights.

  5. Washington Consensus Mark 2: Market Infrastructural Institution-ism • Phenomena like (a) Good bye financial repression, hello financial crash; (b) replacing public monopolies with private monopolies; (c) more inequality without efficiency gains => so Washington Consensus Mark 1 got dethroned • Washington Consensus Mark 2 emerged in mid-1980s, e.g. new institutional economics: Get the institutions right by bringing the state back into ensure transparent rule of law; adequate prudential regulations and monitoring; effective competition policy; and protection of property rights • “institutions trump all other factors” (Dani Rodrik) is the present mantra of the World Bank

  6. African governance unusually bad? • Good governance requires resources, e.g. computerisation of records, technical training, adequate compensation for civil service • In competitiveness scoring, Singapore ranks high in governance index. Singapore has highest-paid cabinet in the world • After controlling for income level, is African governance unusually bad? NO

  7. Institution trumps everything?

  8. Institutional fundamentalism is unjustified because one-variable primacy is non-historical • Regressions show statistical significance of tropical African dummy despite presence of various proxies of institutions • Hall-Jones institutionalist interpretation • China and Vietnam grew despite primitive institutions – because at their initial stage of development, getting the prices right was sufficient to begin industrialization process

  9. Two Blind Spots in Wash-Con=> State must provide more than Market Infrastructural Institutions • No acknowledgment of state-initiated scientific innovations as engine of growth • trade-led growth or science-led growth • Africa more trade-oriented than Latin America • export composition of East Asia more high-tech than Latin America • No acknowledgement of poverty traps, i.e. no recognition that there are limits to self-help

  10. Blind Spots of Wash-Con come from Ignoring Different Types of Growth Barriers: one size fits all • Latin American difficulties in moving from middle-income to high-income = inability to transition to knowledge-led growth • Above barrier now faced by Malaysia, race-based policies means using only 60% of national brain power • Sub-Sahara African difficulties in moving from absolute poverty to low-income = inability to get out of poverty trap

  11. Fixing 1st blind spot: Science infrastructure not just market infrastructure • Primacy of culture of excellence • University-state-business coalition • Different funding mechanisms for basic research, and for applied research: public funding and private funding respectively (e.g. NSF and venture capital) • New industrial policy: more human capital, less physical capital.

  12. Fixing the 2nd blind spot: MDGs • Natural mechanism? In US development, labor flowed from poor to rich areas, and capital flowed from rich to poor • Capital that flow was public capital for infrastructure: interstate, rural electrification, land grant universities [manpower training and focus on ecology-specific problems] • Rich provinces subsidizing backward provinces (US previously, China presently). • Rich countries must inject sufficient aid into the poorest countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals before they can start to grow