Why Geographic Factors are Necessary in Development Studies
AbstractThis paper proposes that the resurgence of geographic factors in the study of uneven development is not due simply to the recurrent nature of intellectual fashions, nor necessarily because arguments that rely on geographic factors are less simplistic than before, nor because they avoid racialist, imperialistic, and deterministic forms they sometimes took in the past. Rather, this paper argues that geographic factors have been turned to once again because they are an indispensable part of explanation, playing a special role that has not been properly understood, a role especially crucial for the explanation of the inherently spatial questions that development studies seek to address. The paper is made up of two sections and an appendix. The first section discusses why geographic factors are necessary for explanations of uneven development with a brief example from the ‘institutions versus geography’ debate. The second section discusses why the reflexive rejection by social scientists of geographic and environmental factors is misguided, with a separate note on geography and geographers. The ideas in this paper were in part arrived at inductively while surveying instances where social scientists in some way attempt to account for real-world locations/distributions of social phenomena (as opposed to discussing a social theory or process aspatially or with its distribution taken as a starting point). A number of these are included with discussion as an appendix.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29750.
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
geographic determinism; environmental determinism; economic development; Daron Acemoglu; Jeffrey Sachs; Jared Diamond; explanation; exogenous factors; location; distribution; colonialism; biogeography;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
- O10 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
- N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- O19 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
- F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
- O57 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-04-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2011-04-09 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2011-04-09 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-URE-2011-04-09 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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