Development Economics [NOOK Book]


If you are instructor in a course that uses Development Economics and wish to have access to the end-of-chapter problems in Development Economics, please e-mail the author at For more information, please go to If you are a student in the course, please do not contact the author. Please request your instructor to do so.

The study of development in low-income countries is attracting more attention around the world than ever ...

See more details below
Development Economics

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - Course Book)
$65.99 price
(Save 42%)$115.00 List Price


If you are instructor in a course that uses Development Economics and wish to have access to the end-of-chapter problems in Development Economics, please e-mail the author at For more information, please go to If you are a student in the course, please do not contact the author. Please request your instructor to do so.

The study of development in low-income countries is attracting more attention around the world than ever before. Yet until now there has been no comprehensive text that incorporates the huge strides made in the subject over the past decade. Development Economics does precisely that in a clear, rigorous, and elegant fashion.

Debraj Ray, one of the most accomplished theorists in development economics today, presents in this book a synthesis of recent and older literature in the field and raises important questions that will help to set the agenda for future research. He covers such vital subjects as theories of economic growth, economic inequality, poverty and undernutrition, population growth, trade policy, and the markets for land, labor, and credit. A common point of view underlies the treatment of these subjects: that much of the development process can be understood by studying factors that impede the efficient and equitable functioning of markets. Diverse topics such as the new growth theory, moral hazard in land contracts, information-based theories of credit markets, and the macroeconomic implications of economic inequality come under this common methodological umbrella.

The book takes the position that there is no single cause for economic progress, but that a combination of factors--among them the improvement of physical and human capital, the reduction of inequality, and institutions that enable the background flow of information essential to market performance--consistently favor development. Ray supports his arguments throughout with examples from around the world. The book assumes a knowledge of only introductory economics and explains sophisticated concepts in simple, direct language, keeping the use of mathematics to a minimum.

Development Economics will be the definitive textbook in this subject for years to come. It will prove useful to researchers by showing intriguing connections among a wide variety of subjects that are rarely discussed together in the same book. And it will be an important resource for policy-makers, who increasingly find themselves dealing with complex issues of growth, inequality, poverty, and social welfare.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Amartya Sen
An elegant, insightful, and extremely effective textbook on development economics. It combines astute theoretical reasoning with a firm grip on empirical circumstances, including institutional possibilities and limitations. There is real originality here without sacrificing usefulness and accessibility.
Amartya Sen, Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, Harvard University
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400835898
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/12/1998
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 872
  • Sales rank: 1,131,803
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Debraj Ray is Professor of Economics at Boston University.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I invite you to study what is surely the most important and perhaps the most complex of all economic issues: the economic transformation of those countries known as the developing world. A definition of "developing countries" is problematic and, after a point, irrelevant.1 The World Development Report (World Bank [1996]) employs a threshold of $9,000 per capita to distinguish between what it calls high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries: according to this classification, well over 4.5 billion of the 5.6 billion people in the world today live in the developing world of "low- and middle-income countries.'' They earn, on average, around $1,000 per capita, a figure that is worth contrasting with the yearly earnings of the average North American or Japanese resident, which are well above $25,000. Despite the many caveats and qualifications that we later add to these numbers, the ubiquitous fact of these astonishing disparities remains.
There is economic inequality throughout the world, but much of that is, we hope, changing. This book puts together a way of thinking about both the disparities and the changes.
There are two strands of thought that run through this text. First, I move away from (although do not entirely abandon) a long-held view that the problems of all developing countries can be understood best with reference to the international environment of which they are a part.2 According to this view, the problems of underdevelopment must first and foremost be seen in a global context. There is much that is valid in this viewpoint, but I wish to emphasize equally fundamental issues that are internal to the structure of developing countries. Although a sizeable section of this book addresses international aspects of development, the teacher or reader who wishes to concentrate exclusively on these aspects will not find a comprehensive treatment here.
The second strand is methodological: as far as possible, I take a unified approach to the problems of development and emphasize a recent and growing literature that takes a level-headed approach to market failure and the potential for government intervention. It is not that markets are intrinsically bad or intrinsically good: the point is to understand the conditions under which they fail or function at an inefficient level and to determine if appropriate policies grounded in an understanding of these conditions can fix such inefficiencies. These conditions, I argue, can be understood best by a serious appreciation of subjects that are at the forefront of economic theory but need to permeate more thoroughly into introductory textbooks; theories of incomplete information, of incentives, and of strategic behavior. Few people would disagree that these considerations lie at the heart of many observed phenomena. However, my goal is to promote a student's understanding of such issues as a commonplace model, not as a set of exceptions to the usual textbook paradigm of perfect competition and full information.
Because I take these two strands to heart, my book differs from other textbooks on development in a number of respects. Most of these differences stem from my approach to exposition and choice of subject matter. Although I do not neglect the historical development of a line of research or inquiry, I bring to bear a completely modern analytical perspective on the subject. Here are some instances of what I mean.
(1) The story of economic underdevelopment is, in many ways, a story of how informal, imaginative institutions replace the formal constructs we are accustomed to in industrialized economies. The landlord lends to his tenant farmer, accepting labor as collateral, but a formal credit market is missing. Villagers insure each other against idiosyncratic shocks using their greater information and their ability to impose social sanctions, but a formal insurance market is missing. Institutions as diverse as tied labor, credit cooperatives, and extended families can be seen as responses to market failure of some sort, precipitated in most cases by missing information or by the inability of the legal system to swiftly and efficiently enforce contracts. This common thread in our understanding is emphasized and reemphasized throughout the book.
(2) The absence or underfunctioning of markets gives rise to two other features. One is the creation of widespread externalities. Proper classification of these externalities provides much insight into a variety of economic phenomena, which appear unconnected at first, but which (in this sense) are just the common expression of a small variety of external effects. So it is that simple concepts from game theory, such as the Prisoners' Dilemma or the coordination game, yield insights into a diverse class of developmentrelated problems. Again, the common features of the various problems yield a mental classification system---a way of seeing that different phenomena stem from a unified source.
(3) A fundamental implication of missing markets is that inequality in the distribution of income or wealth plays a central role in many development problems. It isn't that inequality has not received attention in treatises on development; it certainly has. However, what has recently begun to receive systematic analytical treatment is the functional role of inequality: the possibility that inequality, quite apart from being of interest in its own right, has implications for other yardsticks of economic performance such as the level of per capita income and its rate of growth. The emphasis on the functional role of inequality runs through the book.
(4) It is necessary to try to integrate, in an intuitive and not very abstract way, recent theoretical and empirical literature with the more standard material. This isn't done to be fashionable. I do this because I believe that much of this new work has new things to teach us. Some important models of economic growth, of income distribution and development, of coordination failures, or of incomplete information are theories that have been developed over the last decade. Work on these models continues apace. Although some of the techniques are inaccessible to a student with little formal training, I do believe that all the ideas in this literature that are worth teaching (and there are many) can be taught in an elementary way. In this sense this book coincides with existing texts on the subject: the use of mathematics is kept to a minimum (there is no calculus except in an occasional footnote).
Partly because other development texts have been around for a good while, and perhaps in part because of a different approach, this text departs significantly from existing development texts in the points cited in the preceding text and indeed in its overall methodological approach.
Combining the complementary notions of incomplete information, a weak legal structure (so far as implementation goes), and the resulting strategic and economic considerations that emerge, we begin to have some idea of what it is that makes developing countries somehow "different.'' Economic theorists never tire of needling their friends with questions in this regard. Why is the study of developing countries a separate subject? Why can't we just break it up into separate special cases of labor economics, international trade, money, and finance, and so on? Certainly, they have a point, but that's only one way to cut the cake. Another way to do so is to recognize that developing countries, in their different spheres of activity, display again and again these common failures of information and legal structures, and therefore generate common incentive and strategic issues that might benefit from separate, concentrated scrutiny.
This approach also serves, I feel, as an answer to a different kind of objection: that developing countries are all unique and very different, and generalizations of any kind are misleading or, at best, dangerous. Although this sort of viewpoint can be applied recursively as well within countries, regions, districts and villages until it becomes absurd, there is some truth to it. At the same time, while differences may be of great interest to the specialized researcher, emphasizing what's common may be the best way to get the material across to a student. Therefore I choose to highlight what's common, while trying not to lose sight of idiosyncrasies, of which there are many.
A final bias is that, in some basic sense, the book is on the theory of economic development. However, there is no theory without data, and the book is full of empirical studies. At the same time, I am uninterested in filling up page after page with tables of numbers unless these tables speak to the student in some informative way. So it is with case studies, of which there will be a number in the text.3 I try to choose empirical illustrations and case studies throughout to illustrate a viewpoint on the development process, and not necessarily for their own sake.
I started off writing a textbook for undergraduates, for the course that I have loved the most in my fourteen years of teaching. I see that what emerged is a textbook, no doubt, but in the process something of myself seems to have entered into it. I see now that the true originality of this book is not so much the construction of new theory or a contribution to our empirical knowledge, but a way of thinking about development and a way of communicating those thoughts to those who are young, intelligent, caring, and impressionable. If a more hard-bitten scholar learns something as a by-product, that would be very welcome indeed.
My commitment as the author is the following: armed with some minimal background in economic theory and statistics, and a healthy dose of curiosity, sympathy, and interest, if you study this book carefully, you will come away with a provocative and interesting introduction to development economics as it is practiced today. Put another way, although this book offers (as all honest books in the social sciences do) few unambiguous answers, it will teach you how to ask the right questions.


1 The Third World, a group of low-income countries united by common economic characteristics and often a common history of colonialism, is just as much a political as an economic concept. Narrower economic classifications are employed by several international organizations such as the World Bank. A composite index that goes beyond per capita income is described in Human Development Report (United Nations Development Programme [1995]). There is substantial agreement across all these classifications.
2 This view includes not only the notion that developing countries are somehow hindered by their exposure to the developed world, epitomized in the teachings of dependencia theorists, but also more mainstream concerns regarding the central role of international organizations and foreign assistance.
3 Case studies, which are referred to as boxes, will be set off from the text by horizontal rules.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Economic Development: Overview
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Income and growth
2.2.2. Historical experience
2.2.1. Measurement issues
2.3. Income distribution in developing countries
2.4. The many faces of underdevelopment
2.4.1. Human development
2.4.2. An index of human development
2.4.3. Per capita income and human development
2.5. Some structural features
2.5.1. Demographic characteristics
2.5.2. Occupational and production structure
2.5.3. Rapid rural--urban migration
2.5.4. International trade
2.6. Summary

Chapter 3: Economic Growth
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Modern economic growth: Basic features
3.3. Theories of economic growth
3.3.1. The Harrod--Domar model
3.3.2. Beyond Harrod--Domar: Other considerations
3.3.3. The Solow model
3.4. Technical progress
3.5. Convergence?
3.5.1. Introduction
3.5.2. Unconditional convergence
3.5.3. Level convergence: Evidence or lack thereof
3.5.4. Unconditional convergence: A summation
3.5.5. Conditional convergence
3.5.6. Reexamining the data
3.6. Summary
3.A.1. The Harrod--Domar equations
3.A.2. Production functions and per capita magnitudes

Chapter 4: The New Growth Theories
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Human capital and growth
4.3. Another look at conditional convergence
4.4. Technical progress again
4.4.1. Introduction
4.4.2. Technological progress and human decisions
4.4.3. A model of deliberate technical progress
4.4.4. Externalities, technical progress, and growth
4.4.5. Total factor productivity
4.5. Total factor productivity and the East Asian miracle
4.6. Summary
Appendix: Human capital and growth

Chapter 5: History, Expectations, and Development
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Complementarities
5.2.1. Introduction: QWERTY
5.2.2. Coordination failure
5.2.3. Linkages and policy
5.2.4. History versus expectations
5.3. Increasing returns
5.3.1. Introduction
5.3.2. Increasing returns and entry into markets
5.3.3. Increasing returns and market size: Interaction
5.4. Competition, multiplicity, and international trade
5.5. Other roles for history
5.5.1. Social norms
5.5.2. The status quo
5.6. Summary

Chapter 6: Economic Inequality
6.1. Introduction
6.2. What is economic inequality?
6.2.1. The context
6.2.2. Economic inequality: Preliminary observations
6.3. Measuring economic inequality
6.3.1. Introduction
6.3.2. Four criteria for inequality measurement
6.3.3. The Lorenz curve
6.3.4. Complete measures of inequality
6.4. Summary

Chapter 7: Inequality and Development: Interconnections
7.1. Introduction
7.2. Inequality, income, and growth
7.2.1. The Inverted-U hypothesis
7.2.2. Testing the inverted-U hypothesis
7.2.3. Income and inequality: Uneven and compensatory changes
7.2.4. Inequality, savings, income, and growth
7.2.5. Inequality, political redistribution, and growth
7.2.6. Inequality and growth: Evidence
7.2.7. Inequality and demand composition
7.2.8. Inequality, capital markets, and development
7.2.9. Inequality and development: Human capital
7.3. Summary
Appendix: Multiple steady states with imperfect capital markets

Chapter 8: Poverty and Undernutrition
8.1. Introduction
8.2. Poverty: First principles
8.2.1. Conceptual issues
8.2.2. Poverty measures
8.3. Poverty: Empirical observations
8.3.1. Demographic features
8.3.2. Rural and urban poverty
8.3.3. Assets
8.3.4. Nutrition
8.4. The functional impact of poverty
8.4.1. Poverty, credit, and insurance
8.4.2. Poverty, nutrition, and labor markets
8.4.3. Poverty and the household
8.5. Summary
Appendix: More on poverty measures

Chapter 9: Population Growth and Economic Development
9.1. Introduction
9.2. Population: Some basic concepts
9.2.1. Birth and death rates
9.2.2. Age distributions
9.3. From economic development to population growth
9.3.1. The demographic transition
9.3.2. Historical trends in developed and developing countries
9.3.3. The adjustment of birth rates
9.3.4. Is fertility too high?
9.4. From population growth to economic development
9.4.1. Some negative effects
9.4.2. Some positive effects
9.5. Summary

Chapter 10: Rural and Urban
10.1. Overview
10.1.1. The structural viewpoint
10.1.2. Formal and informal urban sectors
10.1.3. Agriculture
10.1.4. The ICRISAT villages
10.2. Rural--urban interaction
10.2.1. Two fundamental resource flows
10.2.2. The Lewis model
10.3. Rural--urban migration
10.3.1. Introduction
10.3.2. The basic model
10.3.3. Floors on formal wages and the Harris--Todaro equilibrium
10.3.4. Government policy
10.3.5. Comments and extensions
10.4. Summary

Chapter 11: Markets in Agriculture: An Introduction
11.1. Introduction
11.2. Some examples
11.3. Land, labor, capital, and credit
11.3.1. Land and labor
11.3.2. Capital and credit

Chapter 12: Land
12.1. Introduction
12.2. Ownership and tenancy
12.3. Land rental contracts
12.3.1. Contractual forms
12.3.2. Contracts and incentives
12.3.3. Risk, tenancy, and sharecropping
12.3.4. Tenancy forms: Other considerations
12.3.5. Land contracts, eviction, and use rights
12.4. Land ownership
12.4.1. A brief history of land inequality
12.4.2. Land size and productivity: Concepts
12.4.3. Land size and productivity: Empirical evidence
12.4.4. Land sales
12.4.5. Land reform
12.5. Summary
Appendix 1: Principal--agent theory and its applications
12.A.1. Risk, moral hazard, and the agency problem
12.A.2. Tenancy contracts revisited
Appendix 2: Screening and sharecropping

Chapter 13: Labor
13.1. Introduction
13.2. Labor categories
13.3. A familiar model
13.4. Poverty, nutrition, and labor markets
13.4.1. The basic model
13.4.2. Nutrition, time, and casual labor markets
13.4.3. A model of nutritional status
13.5. Permanent labor markets
13.5.1. Types of permanent labor
13.5.2. Why study permanent labor?
13.5.3. Permanent labor: Nonmonitored tasks
13.5.4. Permanent labor: casual tasks
13.6. Summary

Chapter 14: Credit
14.1. Introduction
14.1.1. The limits to credit and insurance
14.1.2. Sources of demand for credit and insurance
14.2. Rural credit markets
14.2.1. Who provides rural credit?
14.2.2. Some characteristics of rural credit markets
14.3. Theories of informal credit markets
14.3.1. Lender's monopoly
14.3.2. The lender's risk hypothesis
14.3.3. Default and fixed-capital loans
14.3.4. Default and collateral
14.3.5. Default and credit rationing
14.3.6. Informational asymmetries and credit rationing
14.3.7. Default and enforcement
14.4. Interlinked transactions
14.4.1. Hidden interest
14.4.2. Interlinkages and information
14.4.3. Interlinkages and enforcement
14.4.4. Interlinkages and creation of efficient surplus
14.5. Alternative credit policies
14.5.1. Vertical formal--informal links
14.5.2. Microfinance
14.6. Summary

Chapter 15: Insurance
15.1. Basic concepts
15.2. The perfect insurance model
15.2.1. Theory
15.2.2. Testing the theory
15.3. Limits to insurance: Information
15.3.1. Limited information about the final outcome
15.3.2. Limited information about what led to the outcome
15.4. Limits to insurance: Enforcement
15.4.1. Enforcement-based limits to perfect insurance
15.4.2. Enforcement and imperfect insurance
15.5. Summary

Chapter 16: International Trade
16.1. World trading patterns
16.2. Comparative advantage
16.3. Sources of comparative advantage
16.3.1. Technology
16.3.2. Factor endowments
16.3.3. Preferences
16.3.4. Economies of scale
16.4. Summary

Chapter 17: Trade Policy
17.1. Gains from trade?
17.1.1. Overall gains and distributive effects
17.1.2. Overall losses from trade?
17.2. Trade policy: Import substitution
17.2.1. Basic concepts
17.2.2. More detail
17.3. Export promotion
17.3.1. Basic concepts
17.3.2. Effect on the exchange rate
17.3.3. The instruments of export promotion: More detail
17.4. The move away from import substitution
17.4.1. Introduction
17.4.2. The eighties crisis
17.4.3. Structural adjustment
17.5. Summary
Appendix: The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank

Chapter 18: Multilateral Approaches to Trade Policy
18.1. Introduction
18.2. Restricted trade
18.2.1. Second-best arguments for protection
18.2.2. Protectionist tendencies
18.2.3. Explaining protectionist tendencies
18.3. Issues in trade liberalization
18.3.1. Introduction
18.3.2. Regional agreements: Basic theory
18.3.3. Regional agreements among dissimilar countries
18.3.4. Regional agreements among similar countries
18.3.5. Multilateralism and regionalism
18.4. Summary

Appendix 1: Elementary Game Theory
A1.1. Introduction
A1.2. Basic concepts
A1.3. Nash equilibrium
A1.4. Games over time

Appendix 2: Elementary Statistical Methods
A2.1. Introduction
A2.2. Summary statistics
A2.3. Regression


Read More Show Less


"An elegant, insightful, and extremely effective textbook on development economics. It combines astute theoretical reasoning with a firm grip on empirical circumstances, including institutional possibilities and limitations. There is real originality here without sacrificing usefulness and accessibility."—Amartya Sen, Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, Harvard University

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)