Publication Details

Engel, S. N. (2010). Development economics: from classical to critical analysis. In R. A. Denemark (Eds.), The International Studies Encyclopedia Volume II (pp. 874-892). West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing.


When development economics emerged as a sub-discipline of economics in the 1950s its main concern, like that of most economic theory, was (and largely remains) under-standing how the economies of nation-states have grown and expanded. This means it has been concerned with looking at the sources and kinds of economic expansion measured via increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the role of different inputs into production (capital, labor, and land), the impact of growth in the various sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors), and, to a lesser extent, the role of the state. These concerns are at the heart of classical and neoclassical development economics. In contrast, most radical development economics starts from the other side of the coin -how to improve the welfare of the population and the planet -although much development economics in the Marxist and neo-Marxist vein ultimately also focuses on national income. Nevertheless, what can be seen here are two fundamentally different approaches to the core issue of what exactly "development" is, which is what underlies this exploration of the key ideas of classical, neoclassical, neo-Marxist, and critical approaches to development economics.

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Blackwell Publishing