Development Economics

1st Edition

Christopher B. Barrett

Published August 23, 2007
Reference - 1736 Pages
ISBN 9780415422130 - CAT# RU2132X
Series: Critical Concepts in Development Studies


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Development economics is in many senses the most fundamental field within the discipline of economics, focused on understanding how resource allocation, human behaviour, institutional arrangements, and private and public policy jointly influence the evolution of the human condition. As the opening sentence of T.W. Schultz’s 1979 Nobel Prize lecture declared, ‘Most of the people in the world are poor, so if we knew the economics of being poor, we would know much of the economics that really matters.’

Development economics research ultimately explores why some countries, communities, and people are rich and others poor. Rapid economic growth is, in historical terms, a recent phenomenon confined to the past 300 years for less than one-quarter of the world’s population. Growing and seemingly persistent gaps in prosperity between rich and poor peoples - within and between countries - contributes to sociopolitical tensions, affects patterns of human pressure on the natural environment, and generally touches all facets of human existence. Understanding the process of economic development is thus central to most research in economics and the social sciences more broadly. Development economics nonetheless emerged as a distinct field of analytical, empirical, and institutional research only in the past half century or so, with especially rapid progress in the past generation.

Development Economics is a new Major Work from Routledge. Edited by a well-established scholar who has published broadly in the field, this four-volume collection provides a thorough review of the evolution of the field, covering development microeconomics, meso-level institutional phenomena associated with communities and markets, as well as development macroeconomics, in each case integrating theoretical and empirical research. Including a newly written and extensive introductory essay that summarizes the state of the field and the history of thought in development economics for those new to the area, the collection will be welcomed by academic researchers, policy practitioners, and students alike.

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