Krueger!

Krueger!


I don’t know if I can make it down for the talk, but if you’re able to get to Christchurch, go!!

Here’s the blurb. The talk is Wednesday, 18 July, 5.30 – 6.30.

Many policy makers and academics claim that changes in the global economy make the obstacles to rapid growth of poor countries even more challenging than it was a half century ago. They cite technological change, with emphasis on automation and IT replacements of both unskilled and middle income jobs, and on the emergence of China as a formidable competitor as major reasons.

In this lecture, I shall argue that while the future is never entirely foreseeable, there are a number of considerations that point to greater ease of development now than in the past. These include: the diminishing rate of increase in populations in most low income countries; the fact that much more is understood now (albeit still imperfectly) about development (and especially how not to achieve it); that global markets are much larger; and obtaining information of all kinds is much easier.

There are also some technological advances that make development easier: mobile phones; continuing discoveries of improved technology in agriculture; advances in materials sciences; and so on.

This does not mean that development is easy. Mistakes can still be made. There is no avoiding the need to improve health and education and bring rural residents into more productive jobs outside farming. Competitive conditions in the world economy make the adoption of an appropriate set of economic policies even more critical than it was in earlier years. Temptations to resort to excessively expansionary fiscal and monetary policies are still attractive to politicians.

Nonetheless, as the lessons from past experience are learned, those policy makers sufficiently committed to sustainable and rapid growth will be able to achieve results on a par, or better than, those that took place in the past.

Unfortunately, the Canterbury promo page says nothing about Krueger. Sure, she’s self-recommending – but unless you follow econ, you wouldn’t know it.

In a better world, Krueger would have received a Nobel for rent-seeking along with Gordon Tullock sometime in the 90s or early 2000s. They independently discovered the phenomenon. Tullock was first, but wasn’t able to get his article on it in any journal higher than the Western (1967). Krueger gave it the catchy name, and had some data from India, and published it in the AER in ’74.

She’s also done great work on trade.

But her positions at the World Bank and at the IMF (in some views) were seen as a hindrance: a Nobel might then be taken as endorsement for whatever either of those organisations were then up to. Plus, awarding her a prize for rent-seeking without Tullock would have been impossible while Tullock was alive – the 1986 award to Buchanan without Tullock was bad enough. And the Swedish Academy (at least back then) demanded appropriate obeisances be paid by prospective nominees – and Tullock don’t play that.

Anyway, it would be a great year for a Krueger prize – and especially as corporate America turns to lobbying Trump for special favours. Rent-seeking’s back again!





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