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Beating the OddsJump-Starting Developing Countries$
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Justin Yifu Lin and Célestin Monga

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192338

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192338.001.0001

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The Tyranny of Litanies

The Tyranny of Litanies

(p.20) 1 The Tyranny of Litanies
Beating the Odds

Justin Yifu Lin

Célestin Monga

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines some of the policy issues often presented as the causes of poor economic performance and underdevelopment. It identifies the most commonly posited causes such as insufficient physical capital, bad business environment and poor governance, weak human capital and absorptive capacity, low productivity, and bad cultural habits such as laziness. Many of the reasons often put forward in the development literature to justify the poor economic performance of low-income countries are generally symptoms of the problem rather than its root causes. No country begins its process of sustained economic growth with the “appropriate” amount of physical or human capital. Economic take-off and poverty reduction processes have now occurred in countries with widely different cultural backgrounds and political and administrative itineraries. This has led to another line of “prerequisites to economic development” articulated around the notions of institutional and financial development.

Keywords:   poor economic performance, underdevelopment, poor governance, development literature, economic performance, low-income countries, Economic take-off, poverty reduction, low productivity

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