By Boris Pleskovic, Michael Bruno
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Additional resources for Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics 1996
Universal education also created a more egalitarian society in East Asia, facilitating the political stability that is a precondition for successful long-term economic development. In pursuing such egalitarian policies, the economies of East Asia laid to rest the trickle-down theories of development. Simon Kuznets had argued that economic growth was associated with an increase in inequality; Arthur Lewis had suggested that such inequality was necessary because capital accumulation lay at the heart of growth.
Improving Government Performance and Responding to Change I have argued above that people who advocate a tightly circumscribed role for the governmentproviding only for national defense, for examplego too far. But I want to stress again that government is not infallible. Even in the successful East Asian economies governments have made mistakes. ) Government cannot fix every problem. Government definitely has a place, but it must know its place. The pragmatic framework that I set forth earlier for assessing the role of government entails a balancing of the strengths and limitations of markets and government, and the determination of how they can best complement each other.
Private firms have simple bottom-line performance measuresprofits and market value. Although government as a whole has no comparable summary statistic for capturing performance, performance at particular activities (typing letters, issuing visas, processing driver's licenses) can be identified and measured. It is important that output, not process or input, measures be used: too often rewards are based on how well a worker complies with standard operating procedures. In many cases activities performed by the public sector are similar enough to activities performed by the private sector that private sector performance can provide a yardstick.