Beating the OddsJump-Starting Developing Countries

Beating the OddsJump-Starting Developing Countries

Justin Yifu Lin and Célestin Monga

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780691192338

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Abstract

Countries that ignite a process of rapid economic growth almost always do so while lacking what experts say are the essential preconditions for development, such as good infrastructure and institutions. This book uses this paradox to explain what is wrong with mainstream development thinking—and to offer a practical blueprint for moving poor countries out of the low-income trap regardless of their circumstances. The book begins with an observation of the increasingly globalized world economy in which technological development allows the use of factors of production in locations that maximize returns and utility, and countries gain mutually by trading with each other if their strategies focus on comparative advantage. The prospects for sustained and inclusive growth are even greater for low-income economies that enjoy the benefits of backwardness. The book advocates implementing viable strategies to capture new opportunities for industrialization, which can enable low-income economies to set forth on a dynamic path of structural change and lead to poverty reduction and prosperity. It concludes with an evaluation of lessons from development thinking and experience and identifies the main reasons why past intellectual and policy frameworks failed to yield the expected results. It then offers a pragmatic blueprint for allowing low-income countries to ignite and sustain economic growth without preconditions.