Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University has given an insightful speech on the subject of growth.
There are two widely-held views on economic growth: 1) it is a natural outcome of getting ‘the basics’ right– international integration, macroeconomic stability, and contract enforcement; and 2) it is hard, requiring a complete set of first, second, and third generation reforms that have little payoff until they are all implemented. Yet the evidence shows that growth accelerations do not naturally arise from the Washington Consensus basics, nor do they require extensive reform. Instead, accelerations are triggered by a more effective focus on identifying and removing the binding constraints to growth as they arise. This shifts the focus from creating a laundry list of reforms to using diagnostic signals to identify what particular constraints are holding back growth in a particular country at a particular time.