The lost decades for China in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s look remarkably like the lost decades of Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. Poor land rights, weak incentives, incomplete markets and inappropriate investment portfolios. However, China burst out of its stagnation in the 1980s and has enjoyed three decades of remarkable growth. In this talk Rozelle examines the record of the development of China’s food economy and identifies the policies that helped generate the growth and transformation of agriculture. Incentives, markets and strategic investments by the state were key. Equally important, however, is what the state did not do. Policies that worked and those that failed (or those that were ignored) are addressed. Most importantly, Rozelle tries to take an objective, nuanced look at the lessons that might be learned and those that are not relevant for Africa. Many parts of Africa have experienced positive growth during the past decade. Rozelle examines if there are any lessons that might be helpful in turning ten positive years into several more decades of transformation.
Scott Rozelle (main speaker). Scott Rozelle is the Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow and the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. His research focuses almost exclusively on China and is concerned with: agricultural policy, including the supply, demand, and trade in agricultural projects; the emergence and evolution of markets and other economic institutions in the transition process and their implications for equity and efficiency; and the economics of poverty and inequality, with an emphasis on rural education, health and nutrition.
Alain de Janvry (commentator). Alain de Janvry is an economist working on international economic development, with expertise principally in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle-East, and the Indian subcontinent. Fields of work include poverty analysis, rural development, quantitative analysis of development policies, impact analysis of social programs, technological innovations in agriculture, and the management of common property resources. He has worked with many international development agencies, including FAO, IFAD, the World Bank, UNDP, ILO, the CGIAR, and the Inter-American Development Bank as well as foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller and Kellogg. His main objective in teaching, research, and work with development agencies is the promotion of human welfare, including understanding the determinants of poverty and analyzing successful approach to improve well-being and promote sustainability in resource use.