The central challenge for economic policy in a developing country is to sustain or raise rates of economic growth.
This paper sets out what policy diagnostics for growth are, how they may be enriched by incorporating highly varied but relevant information to produce what this paper will call a ‘thicker diagnostic’, and provides initial practical guidance on how to do them. In addition, this paper describes commonalities across a range of academic approaches to the interactions of politics, institutions, and public policy which examine features in what we describe as ‘diagnostic space’. These approaches shed light on different parts of long chains of causality which span that space and reach to much more immediate economic policy and managerial issues. Layers of inquiry and evidence can inform (locally testable) hypotheses about how a system is operating in a particular setting. A policy diagnostic needs to generate a set of politically and administratively feasible, and locally effective, priorities to be a diagnostic which informs decisions on public policy for growth.