Developing countries, notwithstanding the enormous strides they have made in the last few decades, display fundamental economic inadequacies in a wide range of indicators.
Levels of physical capital per person are small. Nutrition levels are low. Other indicators of human capital such as education — both at the primary and seconday levels — are well below developed-country benchmarks.
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So are access to sanitation, safe water and housing. Population growth rates are high, and so are infant mortality rates.
One could expand this list indefinitely. Notice that some of these indicators — infant mortality or life expectancy, for instance — may be regarded as defining features of underdevelopment, so in this respect the list above may be viewed, not as a statement of correlations, but as a definition of what we mean by development or the lack of it.
But other indicators, such as low quantities of physical capital per capita, or population growth rates, are at least one step removed. For instance, it is unclear whether low fertility rates are intrinsically a feature of economic welfare or development. Surely, many families in rich countries may take great pleasure in having a large number of offspring.
Likewise, large holdings of physical capital may well have an instrumental value to play in the development process, but surely the mere existence of such holdings does not constitute a defining characteristic of economic welfare.
And indeed, that is how it should be. We do not make a list of the features that go hand in hand with underdevelopment simply to define the term. We do binary options signals for 60 seconds nvestn because — implictly or explicitly — we are looking for explanations. Why are underdeveloped countries underdeveloped? More than one influential study has regressed growth rates alternatively, levels of per-capita income on variables such as the rate of savings and population growth.
There is very little doubt, in fact, that such variables are significantly associated with per-capita income.
But nevertheless, we do have to think about the sense in which these studies serve as explanations for underdevelopment. For instance, is it the case that individuals in different parts of the world have some intrinsic difference in their willingness — or ability — to save, or to procreate? If this were the case, we could hang our hat on the following sort of theory: such-and-such country is populated by people who habitually save very little.
This is why they are underdeveloped. Somehow, this does not seem right. We would like to have a theory which — while not belittling or downplaying the role of social, cultural and political factors — does not simply stop there.
We would like to know, for instance, whether low incomes provoke, in turn, low savings rates so that we have a genuine chicken-and-egg problem. The same is true of demographics — underdevelopment might be a cause of high population growth rates, just as high population growth rates themselves retard the development process.
There are three reasons why I feel this view should be examined very seriously. Actually, the intelligent layperson reading these words will find this reasoning a bit abstruse: why on earth would one expect convergence in the first place? And why, indeed, should I find a theory interesting on the grounds that it does not predict convergence, when I knew that all along?
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This is not a bad line of reasoning, but binary options signals for 60 seconds nvestn appreciate why it is misguided, it is important to refer to a venerable tradition in money manaement binary options that has convergence as its very core prediction.
The idea is based — roughly — on the argument that countries which are poor will have higher marginal products of capital, and consequently a higher rate of return to capital. This means binary options signals for 60 seconds nvestn a dollar of extra savings will have a higher payoff in poor countries, allowing it grow faster. This is not the place to examine the convergence hypothesis in detail, as my intention is to cover other views of development.
Introduction 5 among some economistsand there are several subtle variants of the theory. Thus we may worry about whether Confucianism is better than the Protestant ethic in promoting hard-headed, succesful economic agents, and we might certainly decry Hindu fatalism as deeply inimical to purposeful, economic self-advancement, but we have seen again and again that when it comes down to the economic crunch and circumstances are right, both Confucian and Hindu will make the best of available opportunities — and so will the Catholics and a host of other relgions and cultures besides.
This is not to say that culture — like conditional convergence — does not play a role. Specifically, I will argue that these theories place a much greater weight on one-time, or temporary, interventions than theories that are based on fundamentals.
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For instance, if it is truly Hindu fatalism that keeps Indian savings rates low, then a policy of encouraging savings say, through tax breaks will certainly have an effect on growth rates. But there is no telling when that policy can be taken away, or indeed, if it can be taken away at all.
For in the absence of the policy, the theory would tell us that savings would revert to the old Hindu level. In contrast, a theory that is based on an interactive chicken-and-egg approach would promote a policy that attempts to push the chicken-egg cycle into a new equilibrium.
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Once that happens, the policy can be removed. This is not to say that once-and- for-all policies are the correct ones, but only to appreciate that the interactive theories I am going to talk about have very different implications from the traditional ones. This view has served us reasonably well in several circumstances, particularly those pertaining to macroeconomic models of long-term growth.
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Of course, we would all agree that balanced growth is an abstraction. In many developing countries, economic growth has been fundamentally uneven. First one sector, then another, then a third have grown rapidly, but not all together.
A list of some instances of this phenomenon would include: software development, the outsourcing of services, quick compositional shifts between agriculture and other sectors, the rise of export processing zones, and others. For many important development questions, I believe the answer is no.
I binary options signals for 60 seconds nvestn my research agenda into roughly two parts: the sources and nature of uneven growth, and the reactions to uneven growth. The first part studies the ways in which uneven growth might arise, and its implications for economic inequality.
The second part studies reactions: how forces are set in motion to restore balancedness or perhaps even slow down or thwart the growth process. To many, the former may appear unimportant without an appreciation for the latter, so let me state at the outset that the second part is the more important section of the paper, and the impatient reader is free to turn to it right away.
But a few introductory remarks may help as well. I present a slightly altered version. After a while, the cars in the other lane begin to move. Do you feel better or worse? At first, movement in the other lane may seem like a good sign: you hope that your turn to move will come soon, and indeed that might happen.
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You might contemplate an orderly move into the moving lane, looking for suitable gaps in the traffic. However, if the other lane keeps whizzing by, with no gaps to enter and with no changes on your lane, your reactions may 8 Uneven Growth: A Research Agenda well become quite negative. Unevenness without corresponding redistribution can be tolerated or even welcomed if it raises expectations everywhere, but it will be tolerated for only so long.
Thus, uneven growth will set forces in motion to restore a greater degree of balance, even in some cases actions that may thwart the growth process itself. We could ignore this central issue.
One reaction might be that we do not care about distribution as long as the aggregates work right.
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Either reaction assumes away or simply negates a crucial set of development problems, revolving around the political economy of intersectoral or inter-group allocation. The Hirschman parable also contains a parallel implication to which even less attention has been paid. Economists, mired as they generally are in a context-less description of human preferences, are nowhere close to a theory of socially defined aspirations and for the double- edged way in which they might influence individual behavior — either constructively, via a profitable chain of investment and reward, or destructively, via frustration and violent conflict.