A Brief Overview of Economic Development Theories

  • Sung-Hee JwaEmail author


This chapter provides a critique of economic development theories starting from Adam Smith to the “capital-injection” school (Harrod-Domar, Lewis and Rostow models), the neo-classical growth models (Solow and Romer models) and the so-called Washington consensus. Furthermore, by taking a closer look at more specific arguments on the Korean economy such as Amsden’s revisionist approach, the World Bank’s view and Chang Ha-Joon’s infant industry argument, this chapter exposes the various weaknesses of these theories in explaining Korea’s economic development experiences.


Economic development theories Capital-injection school Neo-classical growth models Revisionist Infant industry argument Washington consensus Egalitarianism 


  1. Amsden, Alice. 1989. Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barro, Robert. 1997. Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, Garry. 1964. Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Domar, Evsey. 1946. Capital Expansion, Rate of Growth, and Employment. Econometrica 14 (2): 137–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Easterly, William. 2002. The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Harrod, Roy F. 1939. An Esssay in Dynamic Theory. The Economic Journal 49 (193): 14–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jwa, Sung-Hee. 2008. A New Paradigm of Development Economics: Economic Discrimination Beyond Evolution (In Korean). Seoul: Yulgok Publishers Co.Google Scholar
  8. Jwa, Sung-Hee. 2012. Philosophical Basis for Economic Development (In Korean). Seoul: Seoul National University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Jwa, Sung-Hee. 2015. Park Chung Hee, A Living Economics (In Korean). Seoul: Baeknyundongan.Google Scholar
  10. Jwa, Sung-Hee. 2017. A General Theory of Economic Development: Towards A Capitalist Manifesto. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  11. Jwa, Sung-Hee, and Yong Yoon. 2004a. Political Institutions and Economic Development: A Study in Economic Discrimination and Political Philosophy. Seoul Journal of Economics 17 (3) Fall: 275–307.Google Scholar
  12. Jwa, Sung-Hee, and Yong Yoon. 2004b. A New Look at Development Economics through Korea’s Experience: The Paradox of Economic Development. Paper Presented at the 2004 KDI-KAEA Conference, Seoul.Google Scholar
  13. Jwa, Sung-Hee, and Yong Yoon. 2011. Economic Development and Institutions. In Institutions and National Competitiveness ed. Young B. Choi. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  14. Kim, Hyung-A. 2004. Korea’s Development Under Park Chung Hee: Rapid Industrialization, 1961–1979. London: Routledge Cruzon.Google Scholar
  15. Lewis, Arthur. 1954. Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor. Manchester School of Economics and Social Studies 22 (May): 139–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meier, G.M., and D. Seers (eds.). 1984. Pioneers in Development. New York: Oxford University Press for the World Bank.Google Scholar
  17. Pack, Howard, and Larry E. Westphal. 1986. Industrial Strategy and Technological Change: Theory Versus Reality. Journal of Development Economics 22 (1) (June): 87–128.Google Scholar
  18. Rodrik, Dani. 2011. “Perspectives on the New Industrial Policy” a PPT Presentation at the International Conference on Rethinking Industrial Policy in the Era of Global Socio-Economic Restructuring, Organized by Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, in Seoul, December.Google Scholar
  19. Rostow, W.W. 1960. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Sakong, Il, and Youngsun Koh (eds.). 2010. The Korean Economy: Six Decades of Growth and Development, The Committee for the 60-years History of Korean Economy. Seoul: Korea Development Institute.Google Scholar
  21. Simon, Herbert A. 1991. Organization and Market. Journal of Economic Perspectives 5 (2): 25–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Smith, Adam. 1976 [1776]. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nation [Wealth of Nation], ed. Edwin Cannan. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Studwell, Joe. 2013. How Asia Works: Success and Failure In The World’s Most Dynamic Region. London: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  24. Wade, Robert H. 2012. Return of Industrial Policy? International Review of Applied Economics 26 (2): 175–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Williamson, John. 1990. What Washington Means by Policy Reform. In Latin American Readjustment: How Much has Happened, ed. John Williamson, 7–20. Washington: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  26. World Bank. 1993. The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Young, Alwyn. 1995. The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience. Quarterly Journal of Economics 110 (August): 641–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Park Chung Hee Memorial FoundationSeoulKorea (Republic of)

Personalised recommendations