After heuristically explaining the social and economic process of catch-up growth, a case is made for effective government rather than ‘good government’. The case is made that corruption is not necessarily a valid theory of underdevelopment. After briefly exploring the various approaches to economic development, potential triggers for effective government for catch-up growth are considered. By drawing on evidence of past catch-up growth episodes in East Asia, it is suggested that they may be explained by a synthesis of the basic human needs (equity) and “new developmentalist/ neo-structuralist” approaches. What is ‘new’ in new developmetalism and how a broader view of equity can play into it are explained. The construction of a proposed equity index could help in exploring the significance of equity as a trigger for catch-up growth.