The concept of
economic development implies transformation in an
economy---fundamental change in the character of that economy and in its
productive potential. Economic development as a field of intellectual
inquiry is the study of the processes by which the potential of society
for economic growth is expanded, that is, the transformation in the
economy leading to more capacity for producing useful goods and services.
Most economic development courses focus upon the problems faced by "less
industrialized" or "less developed" nations attempting to expand their
productive capabilities. However, there is nothing intrinsic about
economic development that restricts its sphere of study to such nations.
Indeed, all nations can be understood to be in a process of perpetual
transformation. Economic development studies provide evidence that might
potentially help in shaping public policies supportive of expanding the
productive potential of nations of all types, "more developed," "less
developed," and so on.
Most economic development courses provide a more eclectic approach to
economic theory than might be found in such courses as macroeconomics or
microeconomics. A variety of paradigms share the field of economic
development and have contributed both to debates in the field and to
Among the sub-topics often covered in courses in economic development
are: the role of education in development, problems of capital
formation, the role of foreign direct investment in development, the role
of technology in development, rural-urban dualism, income inequality,
trade policies, import substitution versus export orientation, and so on.
----------Return to Home