Introduction to the Handbook

  • Machiko NissankeEmail author
  • José Antonio Ocampo


This introductory chapter first traces the evolution of development economics since its birth as a branch of economics in the early post-war period. While development economics has widened its scope with a proliferation of topics and issues, analytical perspectives taken have converged narrowly to those accepting neoclassical economics as the standard toolkit for applied research. In this ‘conversion’ process, the big picture and important questions posed by the founders of development economics from a much broader perspective have often been neglected, and their central tenant that economic development should be analysed as historical processes has been often side-lined. The chapter evaluates critically the approaches adopted by mainstream literature in both development microeconomics and macroeconomics, and discusses how their perspectives have not only narrowed development policy options for many countries but also stifled the healthy advancement of development economics as a field of social science in view of the near absence of open and contested debates. Against this background and the formidable policy challenges in navigating development missions in increasingly uncertain and volatile environments under globalisation, the chapter defines the hall mark of the Handbook as: (i) a critical and pluralistic approach to the main issues of development economics; and (ii) an innovation of linking explicitly and systematically issues of economic development to multi-dimensional questions of sustainability—economic, social and political and ecological—in the context of highly globalised environments. In this light, the chapter presents the scope and objectives of the Handbook, followed by its overview with a summary of 23 chapters included.


Evolution of development economics Sustainability and globalisation Critical and pluralistic approaches to development Globalisation and development 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSchool of Oriental and African Studies, University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Banco de la RepúblicaBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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