In this provocative paper, Pritchett questions whether the World Bank Group has got it right in choosing its Twin Goals. Starting from the empirically established finding that economic growth is by far the most important factor determining human well-being, Pritchett explores the implications of what he terms the arbitrary thresholds of "extreme poverty" or, even more arbitrarily, the 40th percentile in each country. He argues that the shift to these goals does not reflect an alteration in priorities in developing countries or their citizens, but rather a change in the political climate in the West that eroded support for broad based national development. The key question in his view is how to restore the priorities of developing country citizens as the key drivers of the development agenda.
Lant Pritchett is Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Francisco H. G. Ferreira is the World Bank’s Chief Economist for the Africa Region.
Jeffrey Lewis is the Chief Economist for the Global Practice Solutions Vice Presidency of the World Bank Group.