Does Good Governance Accelerate Development? |

Does Good Governance Accelerate Development?


Governance became a major element in the elaboration of the Washington Consensus on development. It was argued that good governance would ensure development as it addresses market failures and institutional reforms capable of making markets work better to accelerate economic growth. The good governance approach implies a single best model of effective government. Furthermore, the concept is both extremely broad and functionalist (e.g. “good governance” is governance “good for economic development”). Hence, if good governance is everything, then maybe it is nothing. The narrow approach to good governance mainly addresses corruption. Methodological and measurement flaws can also over-estimate the impact of governance and institutions on growth. Empirical evidence shows that countries have only improved governance with development, and that good governance is not a necessary precondition for development while the imposition of formal rules from wealthy countries in low-income countries has not worked. Instead, it may destabilize existing social and political orders. Although ‘good governance’ is unobjectionable, if not desirable, reforms inspired by this approach have not been and cannot be successful for accelerating economic growth.

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Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (DESA)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-1
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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