14 April 2012

Development Writ Big or Small or Young?

In the next week or two, the World Bank members will be voting on who their next President will be. The Economist has a good editorial on the 3 candidates and it states the boss of the Bank needs:

"experience in government, in economics and in finance (it is a bank, after all). He or she should have a broad record in development, too. Ms Okonjo-Iweala has all these attributes, and Colombia’s José Antonio Ocampo has a couple. By contrast Jim Yong Kim, the American public-health professor whom Barack Obama wants to impose on the bank, has at most one."
I tend to agree with the attributes put forward and with the newspaper's stated preference (although I am biased in that I have interacted with Ngozi, but not the others).

(Incidentally a number of commentators were very annoyed by the Economist's portrayal of President Obama's nominee, Jim Yong Kim.)

In a related post, my fellow blogger and researcher, Michael Woolcock a Bank staffer, posts an interesting piece on the Bank Chief Economist's website about competing visions of development.

For straw man purposes he outlines Big and Small development visions. Big development is more worried about getting the systems right so that the right outcomes can be produced sustainably (productivity growth, a political system that reflects the wishes of its citizens, equal rights for all, and administrative principles that are transparent, accountable and meritocratic). Small development is more worried about the outcomes of different groups in the here and now and less about medium term goals of building systems.

Before you start jumping up and down and telling me it's not either/or, Woolcock notes that:

"These two visions of development are not incompatible...It is the task of the future president.... to harness the strengths of both approaches while recognizing and mitigating their real weaknesses."

To this end I think it a real shame that Ngozi's call for televised debates to lay out the candidates visions for development and for the Bank's role in that were not accepted by the other candidates. In that same interview, Ngozi states that job creation, with a strong fix on youth, would be her number on priority.

That focus on youth and on jobs is refreshing: that is the kind of leadership the development world needs.


Anonymous said...

Prof Haddad,

There's also the middle line of development--coming out from Justin Yifu Lin's book--New Structural Economics. Combining neoclassical economics in state intervention.



Lawrence Haddad said...

Thanks Jiesheng... I blogged a bit on Lin's book in my blog about MIchael Lipton... best