John Page on growth, structural change and industry

MOOC lecture with DFID in London

John Page on growth, structural change and industry

On 29 October, John Page gives a presentation on growth, structural change and industry at the Department for International Development in London.

This event is part of a series of lectures delivered by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and UNU-WIDER Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow, John Page, on industrialization in Africa. The series is based on a decade of work by UNU-WIDER inspired by three questions: why is there so little industry in Africa? Does it matter? What can be done about it?

The lectures are filmed and will form part of an internationally produced MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to be released be UNU-WIDER alongside a documentary in 2019. The landmark series includes lectures at the UONGOZI Institute in Dar Es Salaam, the African Economic Research Consortium in Nairobi, the London School of Economics, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in New York, and UNU-WIDER in Helsinki.

The MOOC is part of the UNU-WIDER project, in partnership with the Brookings Institute on Jobs, poverty and structural change in Africa.

Lecture | Growth, structural change and industry – is there ‘something special’ about industry?

Structural change – the movement of factors from low productivity to higher productivity uses – is one of the founding ideas of the field of development economics. Yet, for almost twenty years, the role of structural change in growth dropped off the radar screens of academic economists and policy makers alike. Recently, structural change has begun to enjoy a revival of both academic and policy interest. This lecture contrasts ‘old’ and ‘new’ structuralism and their links to economic growth.

Industry occupies a unique role in the growth and transformation of low-income countries. At the most basic level, manufacturing is an engine of growth enhancing structural change. At a more subtle level, there is growing evidence that industry offers possibilities for learning that might not apply to other lines of economic activity. Modern manufacturing industries converge to best practice productivity levels regardless of geographical disadvantages, poor institutions, or bad policies. This lecture surveys our current understanding of the role of industry in development.