ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reinventing Development Economics

Development used to mean a process of structural transformation associated with gradual disappearance of dualism and surplus labour. Today it simply means growth of per capita income. This change of meaning reflects a paradigm shift in development economics; the Lewis framework has yielded place to a "monoeconomics" framework. The latter assumes away the structural differences between developing and developed economies, thereby eliminating the distinction between development and growth. Development economics then becomes concerned with explaining why some countries have remained so much poorer than others. The premises of this "new" framework, this paper argues, are highly questionable. Lewis' characterisation of developing economies as labour-surplus dual economies and conceptualisation of development as a process of structural change are far sounder. The paper uses Lewis' premises and the considerable benefit of hindsight to build a fresh perspective on issues, requirements and challenges of development.

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Reinventing Development Economics

Ajit K Ghose

Development used to mean a process of structural transformation associated with gradual disappearance of dualism and surplus labour. Today it simply means growth of per capita income. This change of meaning reflects a paradigm shift in development economics; the Lewis framework has yielded place to a “monoeconomics” framework. The latter assumes away the structural differences between developing and developed economies, thereby eliminating the distinction between development and growth. Development economics then becomes concerned with explaining why some countries have remained so much poorer than others. The premises of this “new” framework, this paper argues, are highly questionable. Lewis’ characterisation of developing economies as labour-surplus dual economies and conceptualisation of development as a process of structural change are far sounder. The paper uses Lewis’ premises and the considerable benefit of hindsight to build a fresh perspective on issues, requirements and challenges of development.

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