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Economic Development: Institutional Convergence Versus Experimentation, Spring 2002
Thinking on economic development has converged on the view that growth requires foreign technology and good institutions. Reforms in the areas of economic openness and governance have accordingly become the cornerstones of development strategy in virtually every country. However, actual development experience presents at best an awkward fit with this conception of growth basics. What the conventional view ignores is that learning and experimentation are an important precondition for development. Strategies that rely on off-the-shelf technological and institutional blueprints do not work well. Openness and governance remain important, but they need to be embedded in national development strategies that leave room for experimentation and "self discovery."