Development Strategies: Integrating Governance and Growth

46 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Brian Levy

Brian Levy

World Bank

Francis Fukuyama

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Date Written: January 1, 2010


A frontier challenge for development strategy is to move beyond prescribing optimal economic policies, and instead -- taking a broad view of the interactions between economic, political and social constraints and dynamics -- to identify entry points capable of breaking a low-growth logjam, and initiating a virtuous spiral of cumulative change. The paper lays out four distinctive sequences via which the different dimensions might interact and evolve over time, and provides country-specific illustrations of each. Each sequence is defined by the principal focus of its initial step: 1) State capacity building provides a platform for accelerated growth via improved public sector performance and enhanced credibility for investors; strengthened political institutions and civil society come onto the agenda only over the longer term; 2) Transformational governance has as its entry point the reshaping of a country's political institutions. Accelerated growth could follow, insofar as institutional changes enhance accountability, and reduce the potential for arbitrary discretionary action -- and thereby shift expectations in a positive direction; 3) For' just enough governance', the initial focus is on growth itself, with the aim of addressing specific capacity and institutional constraints as and when they become binding -- not seeking to anticipate and address in advance all possible institutional constraints; 4) Bottom-up development engages civil society as an entry point for seeking stronger state capacity, lower corruption, better public services, improvements in political institutions more broadly -- and a subsequent unlocking of constraints on growth. The sequences should not be viewed as a technocratic toolkit from which a putative reformer is free to choose. Recognizing that choice is constrained by history, the paper concludes by suggesting an approach for exploring what might the scope for identifying practical ways forward in specific country settings.

Keywords: Governance Indicators, National Governance, Parliamentary Government, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Political Economy

Suggested Citation

Levy, Brian and Fukuyama, Francis, Development Strategies: Integrating Governance and Growth (January 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5196, Available at SSRN:

Brian Levy (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Francis Fukuyama

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics