Growth & development

Victoria University has consolidated its research activity.

From 2018 research of the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies (VISES) is located within the Institute Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities.


In a recent paper, the eminent economist Kenneth Arrow and others address the question of whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining wellbeing over time (Arrow, J.K et al. 2012, ‘Sustainability and the measurement of wealth’, Environment and Development Economics, 17: 317-353). In considering the issue, he and his colleagues employ a comprehensive measure of wealth, which includes human capital, natural capital, health improvements and technological change.

In our view, these stocks of wealth encapsulate the key issues which we consider to be core to our research agenda. While the traditional view of growth and development has always included consideration of poverty and inequality, the issues of sustainability, human capital, health and technological change are closely related in a world in which well-being is poorly defined by GDP measures. The rapid growth in GDP in parts of the developing world has illustrated the importance of these other considerations.

For instance in China, the limits of pollution have been exceeded, adversely affecting the health of its population. Moreover, a shortage of human capital limits the capacity of such economies to transform themselves into service economies in which some of these limitations are less of a constraint. To these considerations proposed by Arrow et al., we add the issue of the geographical distribution of growth and development. Its increasing concentration in urban areas and the attendant disparity of economic wealth provides particular challenges for policy makers.

Agriculture and poverty

VISES was awarded funding of more than $900,000 over three years (2014-2016) by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) for a project titled Enabling Agricultural Policies for Benefiting Smallholders in Dairy, Citrus and Mango Industries of Pakistan.

Smallholdings are agricultural holdings that are smaller than farms. Most of the smallholders are subsistence farmers and sell little of their produce in markets. Those who do sell some produce generally depend on middlemen for taking their produce to markets, even if the middlemen exploit the smallholders.

Due to rising rapid growth of urbanisation and changes in diets, global demand for dairy products, fruits and fish is increasing rapidly and new opportunities are opening up for dairy farmers and fruit growers of Pakistan in both domestic and export markets. But smallholders are constrained in gainfully accessing these markets and need support of enabling policies for accessing investment, credit, technology and markets.

ACIAR already had a number of projects in Pakistan, but this was the first Australian project which focused on government policies in Pakistan, and among the first few that was focused on benefiting smallholders. The viability of smallholders is crucial for the sustainability of Pakistan’s agriculture. The incidence of poverty in Pakistan has increased since 2005 and most smallholders are either poor, vulnerable or both. Yet, agricultural policies for improving the viability of smallholders are almost non-existent in Pakistan. In 2011, Pakistan also embraced a system of devolution, transferring responsibilities for agriculture to provincial governments. However, as a CSES Scoping Study (Grewal, Templeton and Lang 2012) found, provincial governments are highly deficient in capacity to formulate and implement policies, and effective coordination mechanisms do not exist when two or three levels of government are involved in the same policy.

Project aim

The aim of this project was to review existing policies and develop options, evaluate and define implementation pathways for new enabling policies to improve the livelihoods of smallholders in the dairy, citrus and mango sub-sectors of the Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan. A series of capacity-building workshops were scheduled to ensure policy interventions benefitting small farmers succeed by strengthening the policy-making capacity of provincial governments at the same time.

The project team led the evaluation of policy options through a benefit-cost analysis of each policy option under short-term and medium-term scenarios. James Lang, assisted by Alison Welsh, undertook analyses of global market opportunities and exports from Pakistan of dairy products, citrus and mangoes for the project.

Partners

  • National Planning Commission
  • Department of Agriculture, Sindh
  • Department of Agriculture, Punjab
  • Department of Livestock and Dairy Development, Punjab
  • Department of Dairy and Fisheries, Sindh
  • University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
  • COMSATS IIT University, Abbottabad
  • Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).

Key researchers

Contact us

For more information about Growth & development projects, contact Professor Peter Sheehan.

Phone: +61 3 9919 1341
Email: peter.sheehan@vu.edu.au

Australia's resources boom

Australia is currently experiencing the largest and most sustained resources boom in its history. This boom raises many critical issues for economic analysis and policy making, and will transform Australia in fundamental ways. Very little serious research is being done on these issues outside the Australian Treasury and the Reserve Bank, especially in the universities. We have developed a program in this area, led by Professors Bob Gregory and Peter Sheehan, to begin to address some of the key questions.

A paper titled The Resources Boom and Economic Policy in the Long Run (2012) was prepared for the IMF and RBA conference Structural Change and the Rise of Asia, held in Canberra on 19 September 2012. This was published by CSES as Australian Economic Report No. 3.

The Resources Boom: Understanding National and Regional Implications conference was held in 2011, and featured the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

We are continuing this research through ongoing discussions with the Australian Treasury, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance.

Key researchers

Project papers

Peter Sheehan and Bob Gregory (September 2012) Australian Economic Report* No. 3: The Resources Boom and Policy in the Long Run

Peter Sheehan and R.G. Gregory (October 2011) Australian Economic Report* No. 1 and Executive Summary: The Resources Boom and Macroeconomic Policy in Australia

R.G. Gregory, (October 2011) CSES Working Paper No. 50 - Then and Now: Reflections on two Australian Mining Booms

* The Australian Economic Report is an occasional series of research-based analyses of important issues facing the Australian economy, produced by researchers from the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Melbourne