Global Development Institute Blog

We asked the participants of the DSA conference this question at the GDI stand last week, and gave them four options: politics, institutions, economic growth, or something else?


Although a blind vote might have made the results fairer, the winner is not particularly surprising considering that the conference theme was “Politics in Development”. Institutions had a brief surge on day two of the conference, but politics pulled ahead to win at the end. One of its supporters was GDI’s Executive Director David Hulme:

GDI’s PhD researcher Daniele Malerba chose economic growth, but differentiated his answer by low- and middle-income countries.

The “Something Else” answer also had its fair share of support, led by Duncan Green who advocated for ‘social norms’:

All of these three factors (and many others) clearly matter, and most are intertwined with each other, but as a thought exercise, what matters most? What do you think?