This newfangled thing called development economics

We have traveled far across the land - battling enemy tribes - and have finally brought you this thing we shall call: "development economics"

From a Guardian Inter Press Service piece (re-published by the Guardian) on Esther Duflo titled “fighting poverty with economics”:

Doing her PhD at MIT, she was one of the first doctoral students to apply economics to development, linking the two, at a time when there were few university faculties devoted to the subject.

“It was not considered a fancy area of study,” she says. “There was a generation of people who had started looking at development from other fields. They had their own theories and only a few were economists. What I contributed to doing was to start going into detail. But I did have some advisers and mentors.”

I think someone just retconned the birth date of development economics to 1999  (or maybe it’s just been rebooted by a major studio).

To be fair, I’ve got a feeling the article was mainly copied off the back of a J-Pal brochure, as it completely underplays Duflo’s main contributions to the field.

Update: Duflo comments on the article, pointing out that yes, the field is a little older than that and she had been trying to point out that she came in at a time that micro development empiricism hit a springboard (which is what I felt the article had completely missed).

2 thoughts on “This newfangled thing called development economics

  1. Ranil Dissanayake

    April 7, 2011 at 8:52am

    My very first blog for Aid Thoughts, which was about a paper by Michal Kalecki called ‘The Problem of Financing Economic Development’. It was written in 1954.

    The Guardian’s economics coverage generally is terrible, and it’s development blog is a bit of cliche – a few really good, challenging pieces amidst acres of crap.

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