Economic Development


In a subject area as vast as ‘economic development’, any listing of resources is inevitably partial. Here are some that I’ve found particularly useful.

Papers & Chapters


Addison, T., Hulme, D. and Kanbur, R. (Eds.), (2009) Poverty Dynamics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, xix + 356 pp.

Amsden, A.H., (1989) Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, xvi + 379 pp.

Amsden, A.H., (2001) The Rise of “The Rest”: Challenges to the West from Late-Industrializing Economies, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, vi + 405 pp.

Aoki, M., Kim, H.-K. and Okuno-Fujiwara, M. (Eds.), (1997) The Role of Government in East Asian Economic Development: Comparative Institutional Analysis, Oxford University Press & Clarendon Press, Oxford & New York, xxii + 419 pp.

Bairoch, P., (1993) Economics and World History: Myths and Paradoxes, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, xvi + 184 pp.

Blustein, P., (2005) And the Money Kept Rolling in (And Out): Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina, PublicAffairs, New York, xxii + 278 pp.

Cameron, R. and Neal, L., (2002) A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present, 4th Edition; Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 480 pp.

Chambers, R., (1983) Rural Development: Putting the Last First, Longman Scientific & Technical, London, x + 246 pp

Chang, H.-J., (2002) Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective, Anthem Press, London, 187 pp.

Chang, H.-J. (Ed.) (2003) Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London, vii + 544 pp.

Chang, H.-J., (2003) Globalisation, Economic Development and the Role of the State, Zed Books & Third World Network, London, New York & Penang, viii + 335 pp.

Chang, H.-J., (2007) Bad Samaritans: Rich Nations, Poor Policies and the Threat to the Developing World, Random House, London, xi + 276 pp.

Clague, C., (1997) Institutions and Economic Development: Growth and Governance in Less-Developed and Post-Socialist Countries, Johns Hopkins Studies in Development; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, xiii + 390 pp.

Cohen, J. and Easterly, W. (Eds.), (2009) What Works in Development? Thinking Big and Thinking Small, Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, 245 pp.

Das, S., (2008) Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow, UK, xiv + 334 pp.

Davis, M., (2001) Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, Verso, London & New York, x + 463 pp.

de Soto, H., (2000) The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, Black Swan, London, 276 pp.

Diamond, J., (1997) Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years, Vintage, London, 480 pp.

Evans, P., (1995) Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, xx + 323 pp.

Gallagher, K.P. (Ed.) (2005) Putting Development First: The Importance of Policy Space in the WTO and International Financial Institutions, Zed Books, London & New York, x+301 pp.

Gibbon, P. and Ponte, S., (2005) Trading Down: Africa, Value Chains, and The Global Economy, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, xviii + 272 pp.

Hart, S.L., (2005) Capitalism at the Crossroads: The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World’s Most Difficult Problems, Wharton School Publishing, Upper Saddle River, NJ, xliii + 241 pp.

Hochschild, A., (1998) King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Mariner Books, Boston, 366 pp.

Lall, S. (Ed.) (1996) Learning from the Asian Tigers: Studies in Technology and Industrial Policy, MacMillan Press & St Martin’s Press, London & New York, 235 pp.

Landes, D.S., (1998) The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Little, Brown and Company, London, xxi + 650 pp.

Lindert, P., (2004) Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth Since the Eighteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Vol. 1, xvii + 377 pp.

List, F., (1856) The National System of Political Economy, trans. from the German by G. A. Matile. Including the notes of the French translation by Henri Richelot. With a preliminary essay and notes by Stephen Colwell; JB Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, v-lxxxiv + 61-497 pp.

McAskill, W., (2015) Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference, Guardian Books, London, x + 325 pp.

Narayan, D., Chambers, R., Shah, M.K. and Petesch, P., (2000) Voices of the Poor: Crying Out for Change, Oxford University Press for the World Bank, New York & Washington DC, xvi + 314 pp.

Narayan, D., Patel, R., Schafft, K., Rademacher, A. and Koch-Schulte, S., (2000) Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us?, Oxford University Press for the World Bank, New York & Washington DC, xi + 343 pp.

Narayan, D. and Petesch, P., (2000) Voices of the Poor: From Many Lands, Oxford University Press for the World Bank, New York & Washington DC, xv + 509 pp.

Polanyi, K., (1944) The Great Transformation, Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1957 reprint, 315 pp.

Prahalad, C.K., (2004) The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, Wharton School Publishing, Upper Saddle River, NJ, xix + 401 pp.

Rodrik, D., (2007) One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions and Economic Growth, Princeton, Princeton, NJ, xi + 263 pp.

Rodrik, D., (2011) The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy, New York, W. W. Norton & Company, xxii + 346 pp.

Rosenberg, N. and Birdzell Jr., L.E., (1986) How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World, Basic Books, New York, xii + 353 pp.

Sachs, J.D. (Ed.) (2001) Macroeconomics and Health: Investing in Health for Economic Development, Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health; World Health Organization, Geneva, 202 pp.

Sachs, J.D., (2005) The End of Poverty: How We Can Make it Happen in Our Lifetime, Penguin Books, London & New York, xviii + 396 pp.

Sachs, J., (2008) Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, Allen Lane, Melbourne, London & New York, xiii + 386 pp.

Schumpeter, J.A., (1934) The Theory of Economic Development: An Enquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle, Transaction Publishers reprint, 1983, New Brunswick NJ & London; originally published by Harvard University Press, trans. from the 2nd German edition of 1926 by Redvers Opie, lxiv + 255 pp.

Sen, A.K., (1992) Inequality Reexamined, Russell Sage Foundation & Harvard University Press, New York & Cambridge, MA, xiv + 207 pp.

Sen, A.K., (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, xvi + 366 pp.

Sen, A.K., (2009) The Idea of Justice, The Balknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, xxviii + 468 pp.

Shin, J.-S., (1996) The Economics of the Latecomers: Catching-up, Technology Transfer and Institutions in Germany, Japan and South Korea, Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia; Routledge, London & New York, xiv + 214 pp.

Smith, A., (1776) The Wealth of Nations Books I-III, Penguin Books, London, 1999, 570 pp.

Smith, A., (1776) The Wealth of Nations Books IV-V, Penguin Books, London, 1999, lxii + 602 pp.

Stiglitz, J.E., (2006) Making Globalization Work: The Next Steps to Global Justice, Penguin – Allen Lane, New York, London & Melbourne, xxv + 358 pp.

Stiglitz, J.E. and Charlton, A., (2006) Aid for Trade, A Report for the Commonwealth Secretariat, March, 33 pp.

Stiglitz, J.E. and Yusuf, S. (Eds.), (2001) Rethinking the East Asian Miracle, The World Bank & Oxford University Press, Washington DC & New York, x + 526 pp.

Tarp, F. and Hjertholm, P. (Eds.), (2000) Foreign Aid and Development: Lessons Learnt and Directions for the Future, Routledge, London & New York, xx + 498 pp.

Thirlwall, A.P., (2011) Economics of Development: Theory and Evidence, 9th Edition; Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire & New York, xxxiv + 678 pp.

Thirlwall, A.P. and Pacheco-López, P., (2008) Trade Liberalisation and the Poverty of Nations, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, xv + 248 pp.

Todaro, M.P. and Smith, S.C., (2009) Economic Development, 10th Edition; Adison Wesley, Harlow, UK, xxvii + 861 pp.

Thomas, V., Dailami, M., Dhareshwar, A., Kaufmann, D., Kishor, N., López, R. and Wang, Y., (2000) The Quality of Growth, Oxford University Press for the World Bank, Oxford & New York, 262 pp.

UNDESA, (2009) Rethinking Poverty: Report on the World Social Situation 2010, New York, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, xv + 186 pp.

Wade, R., (1990) Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J, xiv + 438 pp.

Woo-Cumings, M. (Ed.) (1999) The Developmental State, Series ed. Katzenstein, P.J., Cornell Studies in Political Economy; Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London, xiii + 346 pp.

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Papers & Chapters

Adelman, I., (2001) “Fallacies in Development Theory and Their Implications for Policy”, In Frontiers of Development Economics: The Future in Perspective ed. Meier, G.M. and Stiglitz, J.E.; The World Bank & Oxford University Press, Washington DC & Oxford, pp. 103-134.

Addison, T., Harper, C., Prowse, M., Shepherd, A., Barrientos, A., Braunholtz-Speight, T., Evans, A., Grant, U., Hickey, S., Hulme, D. and Moore, K., (2008) “The Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09: Escaping Poverty Traps“, University of Manchester, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, xvi + 146 pp.

Alkire, S., (2002) “Dimensions of Human Development”, World Development, Vol. 30, No. 2, February, pp. 181-205.

Alkire, S. and Santos, M.E., (2010) “Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries“, OPHI Working Paper No. 38, Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Oxford University, July, 133 pp.

Aslanbeigui, N., Oakes, G. and Uddin, N., (2010) “Assessing Microcredit in Bangladesh: A Critique of the Concept of Empowerment”, Review of Political Economy, Vol. 22, No. 2, April, pp. 181-204.

Boulanger, P.-M. and Bréchet, T., (2005) “Models for Policy-Making in Sustainable Development: The State of the Art and Perspectives for Research”, Ecological Economics, Vol. 55, No. 3, 15 November, pp. 337-350.

Chaia, A., Dalal, A., Goland, T., Gonzalez, M.J., Morduch, J. and Schiff, R., (2009) “Half the World is Unbanked“, October, 17 pp.

Eakin, H. and Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., (2008) “Insights into the Composition of Household Vulnerability from Multicriteria Decision Analysis”, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 18, No. 1, February, pp. 112-127.

Felipe, J. and McCombie, J.S.L., (2003) “Some Methodological Problems with the Neoclassical Analysis of the East Asian Miracle”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 27, No. 5, September, pp. 695-721.

Ferreira, F.H.G., Leite, P.G. and Ravallion, M., (2010) “Poverty Reduction without Economic Growth?: Explaining Brazil’s Poverty Dynamics, 1985-2004”, Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 93, No. 1, September, pp. 20-36.

Hyden, G., (2007) “Governance and Poverty Reduction in Africa”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 104, No. 43, 23 October, pp. 16751-16756.

Kates, R.W. and Dasgupta, P., (2007) “African Poverty: A Grand Challenge for Sustainability Science”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 104, No. 43, 23 October, pp. 16747-16750.

Lall, S., (2005) “Rethinking Industrial Strategy: The Role of the State in the Face of Globalization”, In Putting Development First ed. Gallagher, K.P.; Zed Books, London & New York, pp. 33-68.

Milanovic, B., (2003) “The Two Faces of Globalization: Against Globalization as We Know It”, World Development, Vol. 31, No. 4, April, pp. 667-683.

Maddison, A., (2008) “The West and the Rest in the World Economy: 1000-2030”, World Economics, Vol. 9, No. 4, September – December, pp. 75-99.

Prahalad, C.K. and Hammond, A., (2002) “Serving the World’s Poor, Profitably”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 80, No. 9, September, pp. 48-57.

Ramalingam, B., Jones, H., Reba, T. and Young, J., (2008) “Exploring the Science of Complexity: Ideas and Implications for Development and Humanitarian Efforts“, London, Overseas Development Institute, Working Paper 285, October, 75 pp.

Ravallion, M., (2010) “The Developing World’s Bulging (but Vulnerable) Middle Class”, World Development, Vol. 38, No. 4, April, pp. 445-454.

Rodrik, D., (1995) “Getting Interventions Right: How South Korea and Taiwan Grew Rich”, Economic Policy, Vol. 10, No. 1, April, pp. 55-107.

Rodrik, D., (2004) “Industrial Policy for the Twenty-First Century“, Working paper prepared for UNIDO, September, 56 pp.

Rodrik, D., (2005) “Why We Learn Nothing from Regressing Economic Growth on Policies“, Working Paper, March, 14 pp.

Rodrik, D., (2008) “Second Best Institutions”, American Economic Review, Vol. 98, No. 2, May, pp. 100-104.

Stiglitz, J.E., (1996) “Some Lessons from the East Asian Miracle”, World Bank Research Observer, Vol. 11, No. 2, August, pp. 151-177.

Stiglitz, J.E. and Uy, M., (1996) “Financial Markets, Public Policy, and the East Asian Miracle”, World Bank Research Observer, Vol. 11, No. 2, August, pp. 249-276.

Temple, J., (1997) “St Adam and the Dragons: Neo-classical Economics and the East Asian Miracle”, Oxford Development Studies, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 279-300.

UNDP, (2004) Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor, New York, UN Commission on the Private Sector & Development, Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations Development Programme, 48 pp.

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The limitations of the competitive equilibrium model
“The standard models (underlying the Washington Consensus) assumed a fixed technology; yet the essence of development is an improvement in technology… Industrial policies, though widely vilified under neo-liberal doctrines, have played an important role in the development of almost all of the successful countries. … The standard model that was used [in the past] was the competitive equilibrium model. Today, the limitations of that model are widely recognised; it provides an inadequate model for developed countries, and therefore a poor starting point for the construction of a model for developing economies. There is no single, overarching model to replace the competitive equilibrium model: the world is too complex, But there are a set of tools and perspectives (such as those that derive from models of imperfect information and incomplete markets) that can be used.”
Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz in Stiglitz, J.E., (2001) “An Agenda for the New Development Economics“, Draft paper prepared for the discussion at the UNRISD meeting on “The Need to Rethink Development Economics”, Cape Town, UNRISD, 7-8 September, 9 pp.

The poorest countries just don’t have enough money
“The IMF has repeatedly insisted on debt servicing that exceeds the combined spending of the health and education ministries. And yet, when the world complains about the disasters of IMF conditionality, the IMF’s response is that the protestors are obviously macroeconomic illiterates. I am not a macroeconomic illiterate, and I tell you that the budget conditions in the world’s poorest countries are unconscionable. These countries need vastly more help. Yes they should balance their budgets, but in a context of greatly increased aid and a cancellation of their debts. The IMF should trumpet this truth not hide it.”
Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Economics, formerly Harvard University, now Columbia University. Speech at World Bank Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics, Washington DC, April 2000.

Would Australia, the U.S. or Europe have ‘good governance’ with Malawi’s per capita government budget?

“In Malawi it is estimated that 60 percent of the households have less than $35.00 per year of cash income. Now then the government tries to collect taxes on that. And it might collect 10 to 15 percent of GNP at $300.00 per capita. That is $30.00 to $45.00 per capita per year. Okay? That is what government is supposed to run on. $30.00 to $45.00 per year per person. That is for the presidency. That is for the parliament. That is for all the ministries. That is for public administration. That is for the school system. That is for the roads. That is for the power. That is for the water and sanitation. That is the health care. That is the clinics, the schools. And then I am told, “Oh aid, you don’t need aid. No, you just need good governance.” ”
Sachs, J.D., (2006) “The Millennium Villages Project: A New Approach to Ending Poverty“, Washington DC, Center for Global Development; Transcript prepared from a tape recording, 14 March, 22 pp.

How applicable is neoclassical theory to developing country contexts?
“Neoclassical development theory ignored the fact that the postulates of neoclassical economics, which are needed to ensure the efficiency of neoclassical market equilibria, are not applicable to developing countries … But the absence of any of these characteristics implies that market equilibrium cannot be proved to be Pareto optimal and hence even statically efficient.”
Adelman, I., (2001) “Fallacies in Development Theory and Their Implications for Policy”, In Frontiers of Development Economics: The Future in Perspective ed. Meier, G.M. and Stiglitz, J.E.; The World Bank & Oxford University Press, Washington DC & Oxford, pp. 103-134; pp. 114-115.

Implementing international trade agreements can cost poor countries a fortune
“To gain acceptance for its meat, vegetables and fruits in industrial country markets, Argentina spent over $80 million to achieve higher levels of plant and animal sanitation. Hungary spent over $40 million to upgrade the level of sanitation of its slaughterhouses alone. Mexico spent over $30 million to upgrade intellectual property laws and enforcement that began at a higher level than are in place in most least developed countries; customs reform projects can easily cost $20 million. Those figures, for just three of the six Uruguay Round Agreements that involve restructuring of domestic regulations, come to $130 million … more than the annual development budget for seven of the twelve least developed countries for which we could find a figure for that part of the budget.”
Finger, J.M. and Schuler, P., (1999) “Implementation of Uruguay Round Commitments: The Development Challenge“, World Bank Working Paper No. 2215, Washington DC, World Bank, 1 October, 54 pp; p. 25.

The poor can use advanced technologies
“Poor women in rural Bangladesh have had no difficulty using GSM cell phones, despite never before using phones of any type. In Kenya, teenagers from slums are being successfully trained as Web page designers. Poor farmers in El Salvador use telecenters to negotiate the sale of their crop over the Internet. And women in Indian coastal villages have in less than a week learned to use PCs to interpret real-time satellite images showing locations of schools of fish in the Arabian Sea so they can direct their husbands to the best fishing areas.”
Prahalad, C.K. and Hammond, A., (2002) “Serving the World’s Poor, Profitably”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 80, No. 9, September, pp. 48-57.

Development often takes place in discontinuous qualitative jumps, unsuited to the methods of equilibrium analysis
“[W]hat we are about to consider is that kind of change arising from within the system which so displaces its equilibrium point that the new one cannot be reached from the old one by infinitesimal steps. Add successively as many mail coaches as you please, you will never get a railway thereby.”
Joseph Schumpeter in Schumpeter, J.A., (1934) The Theory of Economic Development: An Enquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle, Transaction Publishers reprint, 1983, New Brunswick NJ & London; originally published by Harvard University Press, trans. from the 2nd German edition of 1926 by Redvers Opie, lxiv + 255 pp; p. 64, footnote 1. Emphasis in original.

The criticism of industrial policy as ‘picking winners’ is a caricature that misrepresents the important catalytic role played by competent government institutions
“[I]ndustrial policies were focused not so much on picking winners as on identifying market failures – instances where investors could not capture large potential spillovers …. “Picking winners” seems to imply culling from a fixed pool of applicants to find those with the highest long-run social returns. East Asian governments have instead performed an entrepreneurial role. Entrepreneurship requires combining technological and marketing knowledge, a vision of the future, a willingness to take risks, and an ability to raise capital. In the early stages of development, these ingredients are typically in short supply. The governments of East Asia stepped in to fill the gap – but in a way that promoted rather than thwarted the development of private entrepreneurship.”
Stiglitz, J.E., (1996) “Some Lessons from the East Asian Miracle”, World Bank Research Observer, Vol. 11, No. 2, August, pp. 151-177.

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African Economic Research Consortium

Asian Development Bank

Center for Global Development – Washington DC

Center for International Development – Harvard.

Centre for Policy Development – “A new public interest think tank dedicated to promoting alternative voices in Australia’s public debate.”

Dani Rodrik’s blog Dani Rodrik is one of the most sensible economists writing on development.

Development at the OECD, including the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

The Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York, directed by Jeffrey Sachs.

Effective Altruism

ELDIS – “Sharing the best in development policy, practice & research.”

FAO – The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN.

GiveWell – “High impact giving opportunities that are supported by in-depth charity research.”

See especially, the FAO’s State of Food & Agriculture
Global Information & Early Warning System (GIEWS) on Food & Agriculture
Climate Change

Global Value Chain Initiative – “Seeks to develop an industry-centric view of economic globalization that highlights the linkages between economic actors and across geographic space.”

ICTSD – The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. ICTSD’s Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest and their Bridges Monthly Review are particularly useful for following the trade negotiations.

IDEAS – International Development Economics Associates: “IDEAs has been established with the purpose of building a pluralist network of heterodox economists engaged in the teaching, research and application of critical analyses of economic development.”

IEA – The International Energy Agency. See particularly its annual World Energy Outlook and its monthly Oil Markets Report.

IIED – International Institute for Environment & Development.

IMF – International Monetary Fund

IISD – International Institute for Sustainable Development

Martin Wolf’s columns in London’s Financial Times, are always worth reading.

Millennium Development Goals Indicators – The Official UN site. See particularly the final Report on the MDGs published in 2015.

ODI – The Overseas Development Institute: “ODI is Britain’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.”

OECD – The Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. See especially the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and its annual
Development Cooperation Report. The OECD also produces a very useful database on aid statistics.

ReliefWeb – ‘Serving the information needs of the international relief community’

The Australia Institute – Not just economics.

The Interpreter – The blog of the Lowy Institute for International Policy

UNCTAD – The UN Conference on Trade and Development. Lots of good publications and data. See especially:
Least Developed Countries Report
Trade and Development Report
World Investment Report
Trade statistics
UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics

UNDP – The United Nations Development Program. See especially, the UNDP’s Human Development Report.

UNICEF – The United Nations Children’s Fund. See especially, UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report.

The United Nations Foundation’s UN Wire is a very useful daily email round up of development news as reported in newspapers around the world.

The UN Millennium Project which ran from 2002-2006, produced Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

WIDER – World Institute for Development Economics Research at the United Nations University

The World Bank See especially the following World Bank sites:
Data and Statistics
Development Impact Evaluation Initiative
Doing Business
Policy Research Working Papers
Voices of the Poor

World Resources Institute “Working at the intersection of the environment and human needs.”

WTO – World Trade Organization

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