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Pakistan: Provincial Economic Development

In: Social Issues

Submitted By khalidikram
Words 20598
Pages 83
Provincial Economic Development: Performance, Challenges, and the Way Forward
Khalid Ikram*
1. Introduction
Analyses of economic development in Pakistan have traditionally followed a “top-down” approach. They examine the behavior of macroeconomic indicators for the country as a whole, referring only in a general, even cursory, manner to the trajectories of each province, and even more summarily to the policy issues, constraints, and opportunities that confront the different provinces. The implicit attitude—that it is the federation as a whole rather than the federating units that matter—is so firmly embedded in the official mindset that, even after 65 years of Pakistan’s existence, the authorities do not produce official statistics of province-level gross domestic product (GDP), investment, savings, exports, imports, labor productivity, and other key economic indicators.
2. The Importance of a Province-Level Approach
Why is a province-level approach important? The issue is not merely of academic interest. It is necessary to strengthen studies at the province level, because policies to address questions of employment, poverty, and perceived deprivation, and to improve the delivery of key services are more effective if the perspective is as close to the ground as possible.
The validity of this approach is recognized by the burgeoning number of regional or state studies in India and in other parts of the world—such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, and Nigeria among developing countries, and of course the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and several others in the developed world—where individual provinces or states can exercise a significant degree of autonomy over many economic decisions. Stimulating the convergence of economic growth between the different provinces of Pakistan is vital, because the cohesion...

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