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Indonesian and Nigerian politics paralleled each other to a remarkable degree before diverging suddenly when oil money came into play. Both were populous, ethnically diverse countries with abundant natural resources and histories of political turbulence and authoritarian rule. But despite these likenesses, the two countries have seen dramatic differences in economic performance over recent decades: Indonesia grew rapidly and was able to improve national standards of living, while Nigeria stagnated and experienced deepening poverty. Author Peter Lewis suggests that the explanation for this divergence is found in each country's way of confronting policy reform and developing institutions for economic growth. Based on the author's detailed study of forty years of economic change, Growing Apart offers conclusions about the policy decisions, governmental institutions, and political foundations needed for long-term economic growth.
Cover Credit: Photograph of Jakarta skyscraper courtesy of James R. Hunt. Photograph of collapsing building courtesy of Anders Askåsen.
"Lewis presents an extraordinarily well documented comparative case study of two countries with a great deal in common, and yet with remarkably different post-colonial histories. His approach is a welcome departure from currently fashionable attempts to explain development using large, multi-country databases packed with often dubious measures of various aspects of 'governance'."
—Ross H. McLeod, Editor, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies
"This is a highly readable and important book. Peter Lewis provides us both a compelling institutionalist analysis of economic development performance and a very insightful comparative account of the political economies of two highly complex developing countries, Nigeria and Indonesia. His well-informed account generates interesting findings by focusing on the ability of leaders in both countries to make credible commitments to the private sector and assemble pro-growth coalitions. This kind of cross-regional political economy is often advocated in the profession but actually quite rare because it is so hard to do well. Lewis' book will set the standard for a long time."
—Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University
"Growing Apart is an important and distinguished contribution to the literature on the political economy of development. Indonesia and Nigeria have long presented one of the most natural opportunities for comparative study. Peter Lewis, one of America's best scholars of Nigeria, has produced the definitive treatment of their divergent development paths. In the process, he tells us much theoretically about when, why, and how political institutions shape economic growth."
—Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution