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21st Bradford Development Lecture with Dr José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs

Click here to read the news item published on the lecture.

Video recording of the lecture

Pictures from the event

Flickr slideshow

For questions or comments on the lecture please contact Dr P.B. Anand.

Reflection on the lecture:

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We were told of the Bradford Development Lecture (BDL) during the orientation week last September and after watching the last lecture given by Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, I began to look forward to this year’s lecture. I got excited when we were informed of the date for the 21st BDL, quickly registering for the event. The topic for the lecture drew my attention due to its relevance with the course I am studying as well as the challenges we face as developing country.

The lecture, given by  Dr José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, was on  Productive Development Policies for Inclusive Growth and More and Better Jobs. He first talked of the quest for inclusive growth and gave 7 characteristics of what it looks like before going into the role played by productive development policies in achieving such growth. By looking at Latin America, he showed how growth had not been inclusive making the case for formulation of industrial policies that would accelerate learning and catch up growth through partnership between the private and public sectors.

The rise of industrial policies in development discourse is based on the understanding that no country has developed without proactive government policies that affect economic structure. This was mentioned by Dr. Chang in the 20th BDL and Dr. Salazar-Xirinachs highlighted several papers that have contributed to the discussion. The challenge, however, is the formulation of policies that can lead to inclusive growth. This can, in part, be addressed by ensuring that industrial policies- or productive development policies (PDP) as Dr. Salazar-Xirinachs preferred to call them-  designed and implemented learning strategies.

The lecture gave examples of 4 countries that had implemented productive development policies all with different characteristics. For example, for South Korea the goal was productivity growth which was achieved through close coordination of education and vocational training with industrial policies. Whereas for Brazil, the national development bank was used to lead policy development and financing of its implementation. There is, therefore, no one-size fits all application of productive development policies.

Institutions are a key factor in the successful implementation of PDPs. In particular, knowledge and capabilities in the bureaucracy to design, implement and monitor PDPs are success key factors. Coming from a developing country, I saw this as perhaps the biggest challenge to effective PDPs and Dr. Salazar-Xirinachs pointed out that this capacity needs to be developed.

Another challenge is with respect to structural transformation of developing countries given the existing global economic realities. I raised this question with Dr. Salazar-Xirinachs on how developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) can embark on a path of structural transformation moving from being agriculture based through industrialisation to relying on services. The challenge is especially given the dominance of China in the production of manufactured goods and the rising importance of the service sector in African economies.

In his enlightening response he was looking at the trend of increasing wages in China that would potentially mean that the country will price itself out of labour intensive manufacturing and provide an opportunity for others to take its place on the world market. Additionally, although there are some services that are high in productivity, others have got the potential to create jobs and this is enhanced by a growing middle class that can spur growth in services.

The 21st Bradford Development Lecture was a great experience and provided great insight into a subject that is important for formulation of effective strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals that will be agreed upon later this year.