Bachelor of Science University Texas, 1964. Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy University Michigan, 1969, 1972.
Peace Corps., Bolivia, 1964-1966. Adviser, Harvard Development Advisory Service, Bogotá, Colombia,
1969-1971. Country Economics, World Bank, 1972-1975.
Economics, Industrial Development and Finance, World Bank, 1975-1983. Adviser, Trade & Industry Reform Program., Harvard Institute, Institution International Development, Dhaka, Bangladesh, since 1983.
I am a development economist who does not believe in development economics. I rather try to apply standard economics to the problem of making people in poor countries richer. Since most people in poor countries want to be richer, governments usually try to satisfy this demand.
Unfortunately it is easy for governments to adopt ‘development’ policies that make a few easily identified people richer while making the country poorer. If these development policies are spread widely enough, almost no one (except those who administer them) will be better off than if there were no ‘development’ policies at all. I see my task as identifying the worst policies, marshalling evidence and arguments against them, and suggesting ways of starting to untie the knot. My professional career began in Colombia where my thesis described the structure of protection that was severely retarding growth in the late 1960s near the beginning of Colombia’s significant but partial and short-lived liberalisation.
Among various assignments for the World Bank I have worked on: (1) export subsidies and interest rates in Mexico (both too low in the early 1970s), (2) changes in the level of protection (lower and more uniform), the real exchange rate (higher) and interest rates (higher then lower) to ameliorate the Dutch Disease in Colombia brought on by the mid-1970s coffee and drug booms, (3) industrial incentives given through tariff exemptions in Ecuador and Panama (exemptions below a minimum tariff are mistaken), and (4) integration strategy in the Andean Group (think of it as a single country and apply standard trade theory). In practical policy work I have tried to show that the Lerner Theorem is the most powerful tool we have for analysing tariffs and export subsidies. Unfortunately its implications are largely unrecognised by trade policy-makers and still officially undiscovered by GATT. There are interesting parallels in interest-rate policy.