Debates on development policy are often complex, since they involve multiple objectives, including poverty alleviation, reduction in inequality, improved human development indicators and other social goals. There is virtually no single instrument that can guarantee improvement along every dimension of each of these objectives, so multiple fixes are required.
Regarding poor economies, sustained rapid growth remains perhaps the most important instrument to pursue these objectives. With this in mind, Professor Panagariya focuses on the relationship between trade openness and growth. Contrary to many skeptics, Professor Panagariya argues that economists have now assembled compelling evidence favoring low or declining protection as being more conducive to sustained rapid growth than high or rising protection. The aggregate experience of the developing countries over the past 50 years, cross-country evidence and country case studies all compellingly point in this direction. This is in contrast to near-total absence of any positive evidence provided by free trade critics demonstrating the efficacy of high or rising protection as the key to sustained rapid growth.
The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) launched its lecture series in April 2005 to bring distinguished academics to the Bank to present and discuss new knowledge on development. The purpose of the Lecture Series is to introduce ideas on cutting edge research, challenge and contribute to the Bank's intellectual climate, and reexamine current development theories and practices. The Lectures revisit issues of long-standing concern and explore emerging issues that promise to be central to future development discourse. The Lecture Series reflects DEC's commitment to intellectual leadership and openness in embracing future challenges to reduce poverty.
The DEC Lecture Series is chaired by Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, and includes a presentation and floor discussion.