The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • M. Falkus
Reference work entry


The term ‘economic backwardness’ is frequently used as a synonym for ‘economic underdevelopment’ and in this sense was first used by John Stuart Mill in the 1850s. Since 1950, however, the concept of ‘relative economic backwardness’, whereby characteristics of the development process are seen to be in the level or stage of development reached by a particular country, has come to be associated with the ideas put forward by Alexander Gerschenkron. It is Gerschenkron’s concept which will be considered here.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Falkus
    • 1
  1. 1.