When Chris Blattman publicly asked, “As a development economist, what is one politically-incorrect research
finding (a finding reflecting an unpopular belief) that you wish more
people cared about?,” Lant Pritchett swiftly rattled off six responses.  I stitch them together here, with Lant’s permission.  Lant speaking:

1. One
of course is that the income gains to movers from migration are an
order of magnitude bigger than any in situ development project/program

2. Another
is that the variance of economic growth rates is much lower among
democracies than non-democracies and hence (descriptively) nearly all
episodes of rapid, sustained, (and hence poverty reducing) economic
growth were initiated by non-democratic regimes (e.g. Indonesia, China,
Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam).

3. Another
is that on many individualized indicators of well-being (education,
health, malnutrition, self-reported subjective well-being) the gaps
between the sexes within poor countries are at least an order of
magnitude smaller than the gaps between males in poor countries and
females in rich (OECD) countries.

4. Another
is the point Dani Rodrik has made (and Branko and me using Engle curves
and food shares not income) that the rich in poor countries (e.g. 95th
percentile) are much poorer than the poor in rich countries (say 20th

5. Another
is that the high scoring students in poor countries on examinations
like PISA (or equivalent) are much lower than even the average of the
OECD–so while there are rich-poor gaps in the quality of education in
poor countries this is not because
rich get a good education and the poor get a bad one but because the
rich get a bad one and the poor get none at all (e.g. on a recent OECD
study tertiary graduates in the capital city of Jakarta had lower
measured literacy than high school drop-outs in Denmark, or when Indian
states participated in PISA there were literally no students in the
sample in the top two categories (5 and 6) of a six level scale of

6. The
reason I wish more people paid attention to the last three is that in
my view in development today there is too much attention to inequality
within poor countries and not enough to the very low levels such that
things are pretty bad even for the, say, 80th percentile.