Stefan Dercon is the author of Gambling on Development, in which he details his theory of the elite bargain framework for development in low-income countries. Stefan is a Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford, and also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of African Economies. Prior to his current academic posts, he has extensive experience in the world of policy, as the Chief Economist at the Department for International Development and as an advisor to the UK’s Foreign Secretary. In our conversation with Stefan in today's show, we get to delve deep into his elite bargain idea, the impact of effective altruism, the need for self-awareness within governments, and how far lessons from certain examples can be applied to other states. We also get to talk about political settlements and how his framework fits into the context of current popular theories and explanations for economic growth. So to catch all this and a whole lot more, be sure to listen in to this great chat with Stefan Dercon!
Key Points From This Episode:
• Stefan's perspective on the different skills needed for policy implementation and idea generation.
• The challenges of communicating the need for policy experimentation to politicians.
• Some key ingredients to effective government meetings and common mistakes that Stefan has seen.
• Examples from Stefan of the kind of practical implementations he has seen used well in governance.
• Stefan shares some examples that underline his book's main thesis about successful development.
• An approach to determining a country's emerging development bargain.
• Our guest unpacks the three conditions for development bargains noted in his book.
• Why a certain model for development cannot be expected to have the same success in a different context.
• The impact that studying Asia later in his career has had on Stefan's frameworks and philosophy.
• Stefan talks about his findings on possible lessons from urbanization in China.
• Issues that Stefan has with the idea and terminology of political settlements.
• Contrasting Stefan's argument with the thesis of Why Nations Fail.
• Suggestions on how to motivate elites to engage and gamble on development.
• Stefan's personal perspective on economic growth and its role in poverty alleviation.
• Why meaningful progress is dependent on a certain amount of risk.
• How Stefan would suggest spending money on growth interventions and lessons from Africa in the 1990s.
• What the situation in Sri Lanka right now teaches us about investment in people.
• The danger of consolidating authoritarianism in countries such as China and Rwanda.
• How the mobility of a burgeoning middle class can impact the development of a state.
• Stefan weighs in on the potential scalability problem in a technocracy.
• Some of Stefan's reflections on his time at DFID and its challenges.
• Looking to the horizon with Stefan and his forthcoming projects.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Gambling on Development
Stefan Dercon on Twitter
University of Oxford
Department for International Development
Why Nations Fail
Violence and Social Orders
The Narrow Corridor
Yuen Yuen Ang
Charter Cities Institute
Charter Cities Institute on Facebook
Charter Cities Institute on Twitter