This paper asks how macroeconomic policies affect growth. It draws on the experiences since 1974 of seventeen developing countries - Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey. First, the paper looks at the effects of the foreign-financed public spending booms of the 1970s, which tended to destabilize economies and lead to debt crises, initially raising and then lowering growth rates. Next, the paper compares reactions to the 1980-82 crises and adjustment policies in four countries that were relatively successful - Colombia, Turkey, Thailand, and Indonesia. The paper reviews the varying experiences with inflation of the countries in the study and assesses the effects of inflation on growth. The generally low-inflation countries experienced short bursts of high inflation caused by external shocks. Finally, the paper analyzes the relation between inflation and exchange rate regimes and describes the exchange rate policies of Indonesia and Mexico in detail. The paper draws a number of policy lessons - notably the need to do cost-benefit analyses for public investments, the need to avoid "euphoria" when the economic outlook appears favorable, and the need to react speedily to crises. Nominal exchange rates should be adjusted to avoid real rates, and a flexible exchange rate policy should be combined with a commitment to a noninflationary monetary policy.