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Growth Is Not Enough

With an abundance of important and sometimes surprising findings from studies of socioeconomic interventions in recent decades, it is clear that development in the absence of evidence-based policymaking is a fool's errand. The small details matter as much as – and sometimes more than – the economic big picture.

BOSTON – Following the steep economic downturns brought about by COVID-19, policymakers should be asking or rethinking fundamental questions. None is more fundamental than whether rapid economic growth is the best way to drive development and help struggling communities escape poverty.

The answer is both yes and no.

For good reason, economic growth has long been a top policy goal for countries around the world. But for millions of people living in poverty, growth is not enough. Specific, targeted social programs based on rigorous empirical evidence are equally important to prevent people from being left behind.

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