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This introductory chapter first traces the evolution of development economics since its birth as a branch of economics in the early post-war period. While development economics has widened its scope with a proliferation of topics and issues, analytical perspectives taken have converged narrowly to those accepting neoclassical economics as the standard toolkit for applied research. In this ‘conversion’ process, the big picture and important questions posed by the founders of development economics from a much broader perspective have often been neglected, and their central tenant that economic development should be analysed as historical processes has been often side-lined. The chapter evaluates critically the approaches adopted by mainstream literature in both development microeconomics and macroeconomics, and discusses how their perspectives have not only narrowed development policy options for many countries but also stifled the healthy advancement of development economics as a field of social science in view of the near absence of open and contested debates. Against this background and the formidable policy challenges in navigating development missions in increasingly uncertain and volatile environments under globalisation, the chapter defines the hall mark of the Handbook as: (i) a critical and pluralistic approach to the main issues of development economics; and (ii) an innovation of linking explicitly and systematically issues of economic development to multi-dimensional questions of sustainability—economic, social and political and ecological—in the context of highly globalised environments. In this light, the chapter presents the scope and objectives of the Handbook, followed by its overview with a summary of 23 chapters included.
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Krugman ( 1995) explicitly attributes the ‘fall of high development theories’ of the pioneers of development economics such as Albert Hirschman, Paul Rosenstain-Rodan and Gunnar Myrdal to their methodological choice, that is, the rejection of tightly specified models and mathematical founded analyses in favour of a loose, ‘discursive’ style of expositions of their ideas in the name of pragmatism. Krugman suggests that the ideas embedded in high development theories could get recognition as a respectful branch of economics only after adopting the unique language of discourse of economic analysis found in neoclassical economics.
See Nissanke ( 2019) for a detailed discussion on exploring macroeconomic frameworks of resolving the trade-offs between the stabilisation and development objectives for structural transformation.
In editing the first three volumes of Handbook of Development Economics, Hollis Chenery and T.N. Srinivasan, were conscious in selecting authors known to have different views regarding the nature of development economics. The first volume is, for example, organised by the editors around the implications of different sets of assumptions and their associated research programmes. Since then, North Holland has added two volumes as new policy agenda and analytical tools have emerged over time. These subsequent volumes are useful for research students and scholars in one of these very specialised topics. However, the chapters appearing in the subsequent volumes tend to engage with narrowly specialised topics and issues. The grand issues in development economics addressed at a deep conceptual level in the first three volumes have not been revisited in a comprehensive manner.
CEPAL is the Spanish acronym for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC according to the English acronym).
Basu, K. (2014). Randomisation, causality and the role of reasoned intuition. Oxford Development Studies, 42(4), 455–472. CrossRef
Bhagwati, J. (1998). Capital myth: The difference between trade in widgets and dollars. Foreign Affairs, 77, 7–12. CrossRef
Blanchard, O., & Summers, L. (2017, October). Rethinking stabilization policy. Back to the future. Paper presented at the “Rethinking macro policy” conference at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC, USA.
Blanchard, O., Romer, D., Spence, M., & Stiglitz, J. E. (Eds.). (2012). In the wake of the crisis: Leading economists reassess economic policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chenery, H., & Srinivasan, T. N. (1988). Introduction. In Handbook of development economics, volume 1. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Deaton, A. (2010). Instruments, randomization, and learning about development. Journal of Economic Literature, 48(2), 424–455. CrossRef
Deaton, A., & Cartwright, N. (2018). Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials. Social Science and Medicine, 210, 2–21. CrossRef
Ghosh, A. R., Ostry, J., & Qureshi, M. S. (2017). Taming the tide of capital flows: A policy guide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Krugman, P. (1995). The fall and rise of development economics. In P. Krugman (Ed.), Development, geography and economic theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. CrossRef
Nissanke, M. (2019, March). Exploring macroeconomic frameworks conducive to structural transformation of sub-Saharan Africa economies. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 48, 103–116. Available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.strueco.2018.07.005. CrossRef
Ocampo, J. A. (2008). Chapter 6: A broad view of macroeconomic stability. In N. Serra & J. E. Stiglitz (Eds.), The Washington consensus reconsidered. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ocampo, J. A. (2017). Resetting the international monetary (non)system. Oxford: Oxford University Press and UNU-WIDER. CrossRef
Ostry, J. D., Ghosh, A. R., Chamon, M., & Qureshi, M. S. (2012). Tools for managing financial-stability risks from capital inflows. Journal of International Economics, 88(2), 407–421. CrossRef
Ostry, J., Loungani, P., & Furceri, D. (2016). Neoliberalism: oversold? IMF Finance and Development, 53(2), 38–41.
Solow, R. M. (1956). A contribution to the theory of economic growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 70(1), 65–94. CrossRef
Stiglitz, J. E. (2008). Chapter 3: Capital market liberalization, globalization, and the IMF. In J. A. Ocampo & J. E. Stiglitz (Eds.), Capital account liberalization and development. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Introduction to the Handbook
José Antonio Ocampo
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