China’s and India’s rapid rise in the global arena has not only captured the attention of the world but has also set into motion a rethinking of the very paradigm of economic development….Today, China and India together account for 40 percent of the world’s population. Both have implemented a series of economic reforms in the past two and half decades: China initiated this process at the end of the 1970s, while India began in the early 1990s. These reforms have led to rapid economic growth, with a growth rate of 8-9 percent per annum in China and 6-7 percent per annum in India. Despite similar trends in the reforms, the two countries have taken different reform paths; China started off with reforms in the agriculture sector and in rural areas, while India started by liberalizing and reforming the manufacturing sector.
These differences have led to different growth rates and, more importantly, different rates of poverty reduction. They also have fundamentally different implications for growth and poverty reduction in the future. What can we learn from the process of economic reform in these two countries?… A number of studies looking into key aspects of reform and their relationship to outcomes, presented at two international workshops held in New Delhi and Beijing, try to offer some answers to these questions. These papers are currently being prepared by IFPRI for publication, and this discussion paper is a synopsis presented as a forerunner to the book.