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

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A Perspective on ‘Modern Development Economics’

Development, Distribution, and Markets edited by Kaushik Basu, Maitreesh Ghatak, Kenneth Kletzer, Sudipto Mundle and Eric Veerhoogen, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2021; pp vii + 328, `1,495.

Development, Distribution, and Mar­kets is a collection of 12 essays, three of which are jointly auth­ored by two contributors, while the remaining nine are single author papers. Accompanying these is an introduction by the five editors of the volume, four of whom have not authored any of the 12 papers. The 19 contributors to the book are well-established and distinguished names in the field of development economics and include two of the joint winners of the 2019 “Nobel Prize” in economics. The volume is their way of honouring a senior member of their tribe, namely Pranab Bardhan, whose research, in the words of the editors, “spans the entire discipline” of development economists. Surprisingly, however, that this is a festschrift finds no explicit mention in the introduction and neither is it indicated through an appropriate subtitle of the book. It is only the footnotes to some of the essays that confirm what is only hinted at in the introduction by the references to the work of Bardhan and the role it played as an inspiration for the contents of the volume.

The essays in the volume are diverse in terms of their specific concerns, and this diversity characterises each of the three thematic sections they are organised under. Though they have slightly different actual titles, these three sections deal, according to the introduction, with “(i) the mitigation of poverty; (ii) the nature of markets in developing countries, in particular the market for land, labour, and cre­dit; and (iii) the political economy of dev­elopment” (p xi). The degree of this int­ernal diversity, in fact, increases as one moves from the first to the third section. Thus, the five papers in the first section on anti-poverty policies are much closer to each other than the three in the last one titled “Political Regimes and Economic Development.” Despite this diversity, there is no doubt that the collection has a certain character and flavour to it. Though only a handful of the authors are based in India, Indian-origin economists make up more than half the number of contributors and a fair proportion of the papers have an India focus or angle. However, this is not really a volume on the Indian development experience, and is not where one should look for its inner coherence.

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Updated On : 11th Apr, 2022
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