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Development Economics Conference

Markets as Means or Master?
"New-Developmentalism" vs. Neoliberalism

Mount Holyoke College
Department of Economics
November 14-16, 2008

For further information please contact: Jens Christiansen, 413-536-5659, or Shahrukh Khan,

Conference Description

Link to a more detailed Concept Note.

Since the early 1980’s neo-liberalism has been the dominant approach in development economics.  Although critiques of it have been persistent and from many different perspectives, they have not yet coalesced into a recognizable alternative framework.  The main objective of the Mount Holyoke conference and the associated volume will be to define and articulate such an alternative approach and to project it onto the academic landscape.  The book will directly emerge from the conference that will bring together a select group of prominent heterodox critics of neo-liberalism from around the globe.  While the actual substance as well as the name of the alternative consensus framework is supposed to emerge from the conference discussions, a case can be made that what unifies various critiques is a form of “developmental pragmatism.”  The commonality among “new-developmentalist” scholars is that they are pragmatic, eclectic, supportive of institutional development and macro-stabilization, and essentially market friendly, but with the market harnessed as a means rather than ruling as the master.
Twelve leading heterodox development economists have confirmed their participation in the conference and agreed to write papers on various aspects of the broad theme identified above.  These papers will be discussed in a series of workshops at the conference and then rewritten and edited for the conference volume.  Several publishers (among them Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge, and Zed Books) have already expressed their interest in publishing this collection of essays.
A seminar on advanced topics in economic development (Economics 314) will be offered in conjunction with this international conference and taught by Shahrukh Khan in the fall semester 2008.  The bulk of the seminar will build up to the conference by exploring the prominent writings of the invited participants.  Industrial policy, broadly defined to include supportive trade, technology, employment, finance, infrastructure, competition, and institutional policies, will be the main focus of this course in comparison and in contrast to structural adjustment policies which are the core element of the neo-liberal approach.  After the conference, students will be required to write papers that are expected to emerge from the conference discussions.
The conference format will include a keynote address on Friday night, presented by Robert Wade from the London School of Economics that will be open to the public.  Following that on Saturday and Sunday, there will be five discussion workshops in which the invited scholars, about ten to fifteen faculty members from the Five Colleges, and the students from the seminar will participate.  Students will be expected to engage fully and actively in these discussions.  Interested members of the wider College and Five-College community will also be invited to attend the conference.

Link to a more detailed Concept Note.

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This page maintained by Jens Christiansen. Last modified on
November 12, 2008.