China and India are the most extraordinary economic success stories of the developing world. Both nations' economies have grown dramatically over the past few decades, elevating them from two of the world's poorest countries into projected economic superpowers. As a result, the numbers of Chinese and Indians living in poverty have rapidly fallen and per capita incomes in China and India have quadrupled and doubled, respectively. This book investigates the reasons for these staggering accomplishments and the lessons that can be applied both to other developing nations and to the problem of poverty that remains in these two countries. The contributors pay particular attention to agriculture and the rural economy, examining how initial conditions and investments and the prioritization and sequencing of different policies and strategies have led to successes, and how the agricultural and rural sectors connect to overall economic expansion. They also emphasize the importance of anti-poverty programs and safety nets in helping poor people escape poverty. The book offers a set of policy and strategic options for future growth and poverty reduction.
These include setting the right priorities for public spending, identifying trade and market reforms, building social safety nets for the poorest of the poor, and building accountable institutions that can provide public goods and services effectively. The book concludes by examining future challenges to China and India's economic development, such as the need to ensure growth that is sustainable, equitable, and environmentally friendly. The Dragon and the Elephant offers valuable insights to development specialists anxious to multiply the benefits experienced by two of the greatest economic successes in recent times.
Ashok Gulati is the International Food Policy Research Institute's Director in Asia, prior to which he headed IFPRI's Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division. Shenggen Fan is Director of IFPRI's Development Strategy and Governance Division.