Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 3 (Summer 2010)


Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter


JEP - All Issues

Diagnostics before Prescription

Article Citation

Rodrik, Dani. 2010. "Diagnostics before Prescription." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3): 33-44.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.33


Development economists should stop acting as categorical advocates (or detractors) for specific approaches to development. They should instead be diagnosticians, helping decisionmakers choose the right model (and remedy) for their specific realities, among many contending models (and remedies). In this spirit, Ricardo Hausmann, Andres Velasco, and I have developed a "growth diagnostics" framework that sketches a systematic process for identifying binding constraints and prioritizing policy reforms in multilateral agencies and bilateral donors. Growth diagnostics is based on the idea that not all constraints bind equally and that a sensible and practical strategy consists of identifying the most serious constraint(s) at work. The practitioner works with a decision tree to do this. The second step in growth diagnostics is to identify remedies for relaxing the constraint that are appropriate to the context and take cognizance of potential second-best complications. Successful countries are those that have implemented these two steps in an ongoing manner: identify sequentially the most binding constraints and remove them with locally suited remedies. Diagnostics requires pragmatism and eclecticism, in the use of both theory and evidence. It has no room for dogmatism, imported blueprints, or empirical purism.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article (Complimentary)


Rodrik, Dani (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

B41: Economic Methodology
F35: Foreign Aid
O10: Economic Development: General
O40: Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General


View Comments on This Article (0) | Login to post a comment

Journal of Economic Perspectives

Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)


JEP - All Issues

Virtual Field Journals

AEA Member Login:

AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us