CEPR’s latest “Scorecard on Development” looks at data for 191 countries on economic growth and social indicators over the last 50 years to see whether most of the world’s countries have emerged from the long period of reduced economic and social progress that characterized the post-1980 years. It is updated with the latest data from just-released IMF World Economic Outlook Database.
CEPR’s last two “Scorecards” showed that the world’s low-and-middle-income countries suffered a large and protracted decline in economic growth for more than 20 years after 1980. This coincided with the introduction of a number of neoliberal reforms in most countries: tighter fiscal and monetary policies (including inflation-targeting regimes and increasing independence of central banks); a large reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade; financial de-regulation and increased opening to international capital flows; privatization of state-owned enterprises; increased protectionism in the area of intellectual property; and the general abandonment of state-led industrialization or development strategies.
The long slowdown in economic growth was also accompanied by reduced progress on major social indicators, including life expectancy, infant, child, and adult mortality, and education.
The most recent decade shows a rebound in economic growth and progress on social indicators for much of the world over the last decade.
CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot and Jomo K.S., Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), discussed “The Scorecard on Development: Closing the Gap?", as well as the possible reasons for this rebound, its potential sustainability, and implications for policy.