From Poverty to Prosperity Watch
By Arnold Kling
Upon Singapore’s independence in 1965–three years after Jamaica’s own establishment as a nation–the two nations were about equal in wealth: the gross domestic product (in 2006 U.S. dollars) was $2,850 per person in Jamaica, slightly higher than Singapore’s $2,650. Both nations had a centrally located port, a tradition of British colonial rule, and governments with a strong capitalist orientation. (Jamaica, in addition, had plentiful natural resources and a robust tourist industry.) But four decades later, their standing was dramatically different: Singapore had climbed to a per capita GDP of $31,400 (2006 data, in current dollars), while Jamaica’s figure was only $4,800.
Lerner, an economist who studies entrepreneurship, writes,
While much of the initial growth in Singapore can be attributed to sound macroeconomic policies, political stability, and various other factors, the nation’s entrepreneurship initiatives have played an increasingly important role in stimulating growth.
Read the whole thing. Lerner points to the sorts of institutional factors that Nick Schulz and I talk about in From Poverty to Prosperity. However, I would not advocate any sort of government “entrepreneurship initiatives.” As Lerner points out, it is the overall business environment that matters, not whether government has programs specifically designed to support entrepreneurs.