Why Do Economies Stop Growing?

Many of the growth strategies tried around the world have turned out to have built-in limitations or decelerators – what one might call elements of unsustainability. Avoiding serious damage and difficult recoveries requires us to get a lot better at recognizing these self-limiting growth patterns early on.

MILAN – Over the years, advanced and developing countries have experimented, sometimes deliberately and frequently inadvertently, with a variety of approaches to growth. Unfortunately, many of these strategies have turned out to have built-in limitations or decelerators – what one might call elements of unsustainability. And avoiding serious damage and difficult recoveries requires us to get a lot better at recognizing these self-limiting growth patterns early on.

Here are some of the items in a growing library of decelerating growth models.

In developing countries, import substitution as a way to jump-start economic diversification can work for a while; but, over time, as productivity growth lags and comparative advantage is over-ridden, growth grinds to a halt.

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