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Innovation for pro-poor growth: from redistribution with growth to redistribution through growth

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Abstract

Despite an accelerating pace of growth over the past decade, outside of China most low and middle income economies have seen an increase in the number of people living below $1.25 per day. The development agenda therefore necessarily has to engage with the trajectory of growth. One important determinant of the structure of growth is the path of innovation. The locus of global innovation in the twentieth century meant that the bulk of innovation was inappropriate for meeting the needs of the poor. However, a series of disruptive factors are nudging the innovation trajectory in new potentially pro-poor directions, such that Appropriate Technologies will increasingly be driven by the market rather than (as in the past) by non-profit organisations. This has resonance with the Redistribution from/with/through Growth debate in which Richard Jolly was a prime mover in the 1970s. it also has implications for policies which might speed-up the diffusion of new efficient appropriate technologies, hence contributing the adoption of pro-poor growth strategies in low and middle income economies.

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