On April 18, 2005, the World Bankís Public Information Center, the InfoShop, in collaboration with the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network in the World Bank, organized a seminar to discuss the economic growth in 1990s. The seminar featured three new publications by the World Bank: Economic Growth in the 1990ís:
Learning from a Decade of Reform; Development Challenges in the 1990ís:
Leading Policymakers Speak from Experience and At the Frontlines of Development:
Reflections from the World Bank.
The seminar was chaired by Gobind Nankani, Vice President of the Africa Region in the World Bank, and featured a panel of distinguished speakers, and closing remarks by Danny Leipziger, Vice President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, World Bank.
Tim Besley, Professor of Economics and Political Science at London School of Economics and Director of the Suntory Toyota International Center for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), presented on the dramatic shifts in development thinking among academia that occurred in 1990s, with governance and political economy emerging as major themes.
Alejandro Foxley, Senator and former Finance Minister of Chile, provided his comments on the second publication, and stressed the fact that many policy reforms in 1990s were brought about by financial crisis.
Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, remarked about the usefulness of these publications, and outlined some lessons that need to be drawn from the last two decades of economic growth.
John Williamson, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics, provided detailed comments on the last publication. He pointed out that there was no direct evidence in the publications to suggest that the economic growth in 1990s was caused by adverse political circumstances.
Danny Leipziger provided the closing remarks and re-emphasized the importance of growth diagnostics as a way for the World Bank to engage with its clients and concluded that the presented three new publications meet that objective very well.
The question and answer period that followed addressed questions concerning the best appropriate growth policies for certain countries, the role of political economy in growth diagnostics, and whether or not crisis is a necessary factor for reforms.