Can anyone help me what writer mean when he say "how much is hard to tell" in the following sentence?

However, looking ahead one can take the view that in an integrated world economy, the cumulative effect of many relatively minor transaction costs and corruption can diminish the competitiveness of an economy and eat into its potential growth rate. The investment climate story has useful policy content—how much is hard to tell.

I have two clues about it but not sure. First maybe he wants to say that he is reluctant to say the preceding sentence The investment climate story has useful policy content. Second maybe he wants to say that the policy content of investment climate story is so little that is is hard to think about it.

I am not sure which one is correct. I would be grateful if anyone could help me.

Development Economics through the Decades : A Critical Look at 30 Years of the World Development Report (2008), by Shahid Yusuf,p 62.

1 Answer 1


In this instance, hard is synonymous with difficult. Tell does not refer to speaking:

  • tell
    to know or recognize:
    It’s hard to tell which is better.
  • tell
    : to find out by observing : recognize
    <you can tell it's a masterpiece>

So, in your example, it is difficult to know how much useful policy content there is in the climate story.


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