Ideas Informing Action
Launched in April 2006, the Commission on Growth and Development brings together twenty-two leading practitioners from government, business and the policymaking arenas, mostly from the developing world. The Commission is chaired by Nobel Laureate Michael Spence, former Dean of the Stanford Graduate Business School, and Danny Leipziger, former Vice-President, World Bank, is the Commission's Vice-Chair.
Over a period of four years the Commission sought to gather the best understanding there was about the policies and strategies that underlay rapid and sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. The Commission's audience is the leaders of developing countries.
The Commission was supported by the Governments of Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and United Kingdom, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank.
The Commission has been brought together by the belief that the world's challenges - poverty, environment, misunderstandings within and between nations, vast differences in living standards within and across countries - are best met in conditions of rising and sustained prosperity, and expanding economic opportunities.
The Commission was established "to take stock of the state of theoretical and empirical knowledge on economic growth with a view to drawing implications for policy for the current and next generation of policymakers." Its creation responds to:
- the sense that poverty cannot be reduced in isolation of economic growth, and that that link has been missing in the minds and strategies of many;
- growing evidence that the economic and social forces underlying rapid and sustained growth are much less well understood than generally thought - economic advice to developing countries has been given with more confidence that justified by the state of knowledge;
- realization that the accumulation of highly relevant (both successful and unsuccessful) growth experiences over the past 20 years provides a unique source of learning; and
- growing awareness that, except for China and India, and other rapidly growing economists in East Asia, developing countries need to accelerate their rates of growth significantly for their incomes to catch up with income levels in industrialized countries, and for the world to achieve a better balance in the distribution of wealth and opportunity.
The Commission's activities have taken place at three levels: 1) the Commission defined the themes and issues it thinks important for growth and development; 2) the Commission invited world renowned academics, practitioners and experts to author papers exploring the state of knowledge in these themes and issues; those were reviewed and discussed at the Commission workshops; and 3) a working group which interacted with academics and Commissioners, reviews and comments on papers throughout the process. The working group support the Chairman in its drafting of the final report by reviewing interim drafts and providing comments. The Commission was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the governemnts of Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and the World Bank.