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Costs, Capabilities, Conflict and Cash: The Problem of Technology and Sustainable Economic Growth in Pakistan

Matthew McCartney ()
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Matthew McCartney: University of Oxford

Lahore Journal of Economics, 2016, vol. 21, issue Special Edition, 65-98

Abstract: Growth in Pakistan has been surprisingly sustainable. GDP growth of 5 percent p.a. since independence and no recession since (at least) 1960 according to World Bank data represents a creditable performance when compared to all but the most successful developing countries. Pakistan has significantly transformed the structure of its economy during these same decades; in 1950 99 percent of its exports were agricultural goods and by the 1990s exports were largely manufactured goods. This very success indicates a growing constraint on sustaining growth into the future or the concern that Pakistan may be headed for a Middle Income Trap. Although there does exist scope for continued growth based on further structural changes - in particular the large number of people still employed in agriculture or the women not currently engaged in the labor force - for growth to be sustained a more intensive or productivity-oriented growth will be necessary. This paper first outlines the importance of productivity growth for sustaining GDP growth in Pakistan, then examines the historical and comparative productivity performance of Pakistan, and explores a number of case studies of successful technological change, particularly in South Asia, and finally attempts to draw some lessons for contemporary Pakistan.

Keywords: Technology adoption; productivity; political economy; Pakistan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O14 O49 Q16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Handle: RePEc:lje:journl:v:21:y:2016:i:sp:p:65-98