A Cutting Edge of Development Thinking presents senior development officials with the latest development thinking and research findings, with a focus on how this information can inform strategic and tactical decisions, from project design to implementation.

This intensive and interactive one-week program is led by Professor Ricardo Hausmann and Professor Lant Pritchett, two of the world’s leading experts in development practice. Class lectures, case study discussions and experiential learning will create a powerful learning environment.

The curriculum for this program focuses on four core themes, which are interwoven throughout the week and include:

  • Economic Complexity and Structural Transformation — Sustained economic growth is the single most important determinant of persistent increases in living standards and reductions in poverty. In practice, growth is often stagnant, volatile and uneven, where diverging outcomes and middle-income traps have placed renewed focus on the process of structural transformation—how countries and cities move into new opportunities to make productivity gains and increase incomes. This process of “self-discovery” is often delayed by rigidities both in the private and public sectors so that the evolutionary process of learning and discovery can freeze up. The evolution of this learning by doing is fundamentally a process of increasing economic complexity, where increasing the diversity and complexity of production are at the core of economic development. During these sessions, you will be introduced to the ‘Atlas of Economic Complexity,’ (a set of tools to rethink how economic growth happens) and explore its application to your country and organization.
  • Growth Diagnostics — From the Washington Consensus to the current fad of promoting “best practices,” one of the clearest lessons of development is that policies that find success in one place may have weak, even negative effects elsewhere. Platitudes like “one size doesn’t fit all” offer little guidance to identify which “size” does fit which country. Growth Diagnostics have helped transform how the development community identifies which of the many distortions and barriers in the economy to fix first, by identifying the binding constraint to growth. These sessions will explore how to diagnose an individual country’s growth constraints and show how to apply the diagnosis to generate appropriately customized economic strategies.
  • Inclusive Growth — Whether due to Thomas Piketty or the troubling rise in national income inequality globally, many people today do not find economic growth to be morally palatable, unless it is broad-based and inclusive. These sessions present new research that finds both inequality and slow growth often result from a particular form of exclusion. Modern production requires the combination of individuals with diverse specialized knowledge (e.g. engineers, assembly workers and computer scientists) working across tightly coordinated networks of networks (e.g. production, logistics, marketing, sales, accounting, etc.). Acquiring new capabilities (or technology) often involves overcoming large initial fixed costs, which requires the creation of effective policy priorities. These sessions will discuss how public-private coordination can target the creation of new complex firms along with the targeted inclusion of more citizens into high-productivity employment. You'll explore how inclusion, when rightly understood, has significant implications for key policy areas from infrastructure policy and urban and housing policy to education policy, as a means to rethink how growth can enhance inclusion.
  • Getting Things Done: Implementing Development Projects — Too often, development projects fail. In many contexts, this failure is not driven by poor design but from a fundamental lack of state capability. Many reform initiatives do not achieve sustained improvements in performance because organizations pretend to reform by changing what policies and organizational structures look like rather than what they actually do. New approaches are needed to diagnose and build the capacity of public sector teams to achieve development outcomes. These sessions present the latest findings on a new way forward to address the difficult issues of policy implementation that can build public sector capability in challenging development contexts.
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