The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Development Economics

  • Debraj Ray
  • Clive Bell
Reference work entry


This article surveys the current state of development economics, a subject that studies growth, inequality, poverty and institutions in the developing world. The article is organized around a view that emphasizes the role of history in creating development traps or slow progress. This ‘non-convergence’ viewpoint stands in contrast to a more traditional view, also discussed, based on the notion of economic convergence (across individuals, regions or countries). Some specific research areas in development economics receive closer scrutiny under this overall methodological umbrella, among them political economy, credit markets, legal issues, collective action and conflict.


Adverse selection Aspirations gap Collective action Complementarity Convergence Convexity Credit Development economics Expectations Human capital Inequality Insurance Land rights Limited liability Measurement error Micro-credit Moral hazard Multiple equilibria Poverty traps Property rights Selection bias Standards of living Underdevelopment 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debraj Ray
    • 1
  • Clive Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.