Crouching Beliefs, Hidden Biases: The Rise and Fall of Growth Narratives
The debate among economists about an optimal growth recipe has been the subject of competing “narratives.” We identify four major growth narratives using the text analytics of IMF country reports over 1978-2019. The narrative “Economic Structure”—services, manufacturing, and agriculture—has been on a secular decline overshadowed by the “Structural Reforms”—competitiveness, transparency, and governance. We observe the rise and fall of the “Washington Consensus”—privatization and liberalization— and the rise to dominance of the “Washington Constellation,” a collection of many disparate terms such as productivity, tourism, and inequality. Growth theory concepts such as innovation, technology, and export policy have been marginal while industrial policy, which was once perceived positively, is making a comeback.
IMF Working Papers

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