New Wealth for Old Nationsprovides a guide to policy priorities in small or regional economies. It will be of interest to policymakers, students, and scholars seeking avenues to improved growth, greater opportunity, and better governance. Some of the world's leading economists combine their research insights with a discussion of the practicalities of implementing structural reforms. Scotland is the ideal case study: the recent devolution of government in the United Kingdom offers a natural experiment in political economy, one whose lessons apply to almost any small, advanced economy.
One fundamental conclusion is that policy can make a big difference to long-term prosperity in small economies open to flows of knowledge, investment, and migrants. Indeed the difficulty in introducing growth-oriented policies lies more in the politics of implementing change than in the theoretical diagnosis. Public sector governance is consequently a key issue in creating a pro-growth consensus. And faster growth must be seen to improve opportunities for the population as a whole. Further, setting out the evidence--as this book does for Scotland--is vital to overcoming entrenched institutional barriers to policy reform. The first chapter is by Jo Armstrong, John McLaren, and the editors; and the subsequent chapters are by Paul Krugman, William Baumol, Edward Glaeser, Paul Hallwood and Ronald MacDonald, James Heckman and Dimitriy Masterov, Heather Joshi and Robert Wright, Nicholas Crafts, and John Bradley.