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Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics

Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics

05/2010 Debraj Ray
working papers,culture and development
Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010
http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jep.24.3.45

05/2010 Debraj Ray

The textbook paradigm of economy-wide development rests on the premise of "balanced growth"; that is, on the presumption that all sectors will grow in unison over time as a country gets richer. This view has served us reasonably well in some circumstances, but is not particularly useful for accounts of modern (under) development. In many developing countries, economic growth has been fundamentally uneven: software development, the outsourcing of services, sectoral technological change, quick compositional shifts between agriculture and other sectors, the rise of particular exports, "special" economic zones, and so on. This paper will discuss both the sources of uneven growth, and its implications, with greater emphasis on the latter. The paper will argue that much of the distributional issues, or the reactions to globalization that we see in modern developing societies can be viewed as reactions to a growth process that is fundamentally uneven and is indeed perceived as such.

Culture and Development

Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010

http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jep.24.3.45