When I started studying growth in the developing world, I thought the subject was mainly about economics. I no longer believe that.Spence is a very accomplished fellow. The quote is from Spence's new book The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World. In his interview of Spence, Peter Robinson asks about the quote (at 5:25) and draws this response (at 5:40):
Complicated high speed dynamics in the economics sphere turns out to be only a piece of the puzzle and what I really believe now is that the critical things are the governance. The interaction of economics and politics. The policy-making process. The wisdom with which it is conducted. The intent to help all the citizens in the country as opposed to grab as much as you can for yourself. When I go across the developing world and ask myself what's the largest single explanation for the huge diversity of economic performance [from country to country], it falls in this territory.This strikes me as one of those "obvious" things that no one ever pointed out before.