1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development (2000 - 2009)

Growth Strategies and Poverty Reduction: The Institutional Complementarity Hypothesis (Draft)



This paper starts from the limits of the policies that assume a significant deconnection between antipoverty strategies and the logic of the growth regime and that mainly rely upon market mechanisms. By contrast, a branch of the new institutional economics argues that a complete set of coordinating mechanisms is constitutive of really existing economies and that they are more complementary than substitute. The Institutional Complementarity Hypothesis (ICH) may be useful for analyzing simultaneously the antipoverty policies and the viability of growth regimes. The different brands of capitalism are the outcome of complementary institutions concerning competition, labour market institutions, welfare and innovation systems. Generally, such configurations cannot be emulated by poor developing countries, but reviewing the preliminary findings of the UNRISD country case studies suggests some common features to all successful experiments. Basically, antipoverty policies are efficient when they create the equivalent of virtuous circles within which growth enables antipoverty programmes, and conversely these programmes sustain the speed and stability of growth. Two methods are proposed in order to detect possible complementarities and design accordingly economic policies: the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) on one side, national growth diagnosis on the other side. A special attention is devoted to the timing of policies and the role of policy regimes. A brief conclusion wraps up the major findings and proposes a research agenda.