Albert Hirschman and his controversial research report
AbstractDuring the early nineteen sixties, Albert Hirschman negotiated with the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, part of the World Bank group, the financial support that he needed for an extended visit to several WB development projects scattered throughout the poor areas of the world. The document where he reports his visit was the matter of much controversy between the IBRD staff and Hirschman. One of the major points of disagreement was the latter´s refusal to employ the technique of cost-benefit analysis, then very popular at the WB, as a measure of the success of a project. Hirschman claimed that a one-dimensional scale was unable to grasp the various indirect effects of a project, which, he argued, were so varied as to escape detection by one or even several criteria uniformly applied to all projects. The paper claims that the strong negative reaction that Hirschman found among the WB economists was a crucial factor in his decision to leave the strict realm of economics and to embrace the broader social sciences themes of his subsequent writings.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) in its series Working Papers, Department of Economics with number 2011_03.
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2011
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
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- Ana Maria Bianchi, 2011. "Visiting-economists through Hirschman's eyes," European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 217-242.
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