IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v24y2010i3p45-60.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Debraj Ray

Abstract

The textbook paradigm of economywide development rests on the premise of "balanced growth": that is, on the presumption that all sectors will grow in unison over time as a country gets richer. Of course, we would all agree that balanced growth is an abstraction. In many developing countries, economic growth has been fundamentally uneven. The question really is not whether growth is balanced -- it isn't -- but whether the abstraction is a useful one. For many important development questions, I believe the answer is no. This is why I would like to take the reality of "uneven growth" seriously and use it as an organizing device for a research program. I divide my research agenda into roughly two parts: the sources and nature of uneven growth, and the reactions to uneven growth -- how forces are set in motion to restore balance or perhaps even to thwart the growth process. To help us think about the effects of uneven growth, I present a version of Albert Hirschmann's tunnel parable: You're in a multi-lane tunnel, all lanes in the same direction, and you're caught in a serious traffic jam. After a while, the cars in the other lane begin to move. Do you feel better or worse? At first, movement in the other lane may seem like a good sign: you hope that your turn to move will come soon, and indeed that might happen. However, if the other lane keeps whizzing by, with no gaps to enter and with no change on your lane, your reactions may well become quite negative. Unevenness without corresponding redistribution can be tolerated or even welcomed if it raises expectations everywhere, but it will be tolerated for only so long. Thus, uneven growth will set forces in motion to restore a greater degree of balance, even (in some cases) actions that may thwart the growth process itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Debraj Ray, 2010. "Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 45-60, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:45-60
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.3.45
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.3.45
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
    3. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2013. "On The Theory Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 161-192, January.
    4. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    5. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
    6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
    7. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    8. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gollin, Douglas & Parente, Stephen L. & Rogerson, Richard, 2007. "The food problem and the evolution of international income levels," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1230-1255, May.
    10. Mani, Anandi, 2001. "Income Distribution and the Demand Constraint," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 107-133, June.
    11. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
    12. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 719-765.
    13. Majumdar, Mukul & Mitra, Tapan, 1982. "Intertemporal allocation with a non-convex technology: The aggregative framework," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 101-136, June.
    14. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-1064, October.
    15. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
    16. Erica Field, 2007. "Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1561-1602.
    17. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
    18. Shing-Yi Wang, 2012. "Credit Constraints, Job Mobility, and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from a Property Reform in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 532-551, May.
    19. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
    20. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2008. "On the Salience of Ethnic Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2185-2202, December.
    21. Baland, Jean-Marie & Ray, Debraj, 1991. "Why does asset inequality affect unemployment? A study of the demand composition problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-92, January.
    22. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-937, October.
    23. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    24. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-1011, December.
    25. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 2002. "Costly signaling and cheap talk in models of political influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 263-280, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Aguirre, Alvaro, 2016. "The risk of civil conflicts as a determinant of political institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 36-59.
    2. Rojas Rivera, Angela Milena & Rengifo López, Juan Camilo, 2016. "Desarrollo económico y espacial desigual: panorama teórico y aproximaciones al caso colombiano," BORRADORES DEPARTAMENTO DE ECONOMÍA 015257, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE.
    3. albagoury, samar, 2016. "الأسباب الإقتصادية لتنامي ظاهرة الإرهاب في إفريقيا جنوب الصحراء
      [Economic Causes of Terrorism in Africa South of the Sahara]
      ," MPRA Paper 74740, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Dalila NICET-CHENAF & Eric ROUGIER, 2014. "What is so specific with Middle-East and North-African pattern of growth and structural change? A quantitative comparative analysis," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-23, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30750027 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rougier, Eric, 2016. "“Fire in Cairo”: Authoritarian–Redistributive Social Contracts, Structural Change, and the Arab Spring," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 148-171.
    7. Sushanta K. Mallick, 2014. "Disentangling the Poverty Effects of Sectoral Output, Prices, and Policies in India," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(4), pages 773-801, December.
    8. Garofalo, Maria Rosaria, 2011. "Il volontariato può sostenere lo sviluppo? Riflessioni metodologiche per la costruzione di un frame work teorico
      [Can the voluntary sector sustain the development path of an economy? Suggestions fo
      ," MPRA Paper 40008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Tripathi, Sabyasachi, 2016. "Source of Inequality in consumption Expenditure in India: A Regression Based Inequality Decomposition Analysis," MPRA Paper 72117, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941 Elsevier.
    11. Ismail, Aisha & Amjad, Shehla, 2014. "Determinants of terrorism in Pakistan: An empirical investigation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 320-331.
    12. Caruso, Raul & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "The socio-economic determinants of terrorism and political violence in Western Europe (1994–2007)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages 37-49.
    13. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    14. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Kundu, Tapas, 2014. "Resistance, redistribution and investor-friendliness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 124-142.
    15. repec:spr:soinre:v:136:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1568-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Eric Rougier & Riana Razafimandimby Andrianjaka, 2017. "What difference does it make (when a middle-income country is caught in the trap)? An evidence-based survey analysis of the determinants of Middle-Income Traps," Cahiers du GREThA 2017-16, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    17. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    18. Wang, Fei & Dong, Baomin & Yin, Xiaopeng & An, Chi, 2014. "China's structural change: A new SDA model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 256-266.
    19. Ahmed S. Rahman, 2017. "Rise of the Machines Redux – Education, Technological Transition and Long-run Growth," Departmental Working Papers 61, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    20. repec:kap:jeczfn:v:123:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00712-017-0575-z is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Amrita Chhachhi & Emre Özçelik, 2014. "Albert O. Hirschman: A ‘Beamish’ Social Scientist for Our Grandchildren," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 45(5), pages 1111-1133, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:45-60. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.