Pedro Conceição is Director, Strategic Policy, at the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). His previous roles at UNDP include Chief-Economist at the Regional Bureau for Africa and Director of the Office of Development Studies. He co-edited books on financing for development and on global public goods. He has published on inequality, the economics of innovation and technological change, and development. Prior to joining UNDP, he was an Assistant Professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, teaching and researching on science, technology and innovation policy. He has degrees in Physics from Instituto Superior Técnico and in Economics from the Technical University of Lisbon and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with a Fulbright scholarship.
When economists try to dig deep into what is perhaps the most fundamental question in economics (why do some countries develop and prosper, while others struggle and are even left behind?) the answer is always the same. It is not the accumulation of capital, which eventually hits decreasing returns. It is not even human capital, important though that is. The answer, short of staying clear from catastrophic events like war, is the accumulation of knowledge: ranging from institutional arrangements that foster economic growth and inclusion, to new methods of production.