IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Currie's 'leading sector' strategy of growth: an appraisal


  • Ramesh Chandra


This paper offers a new interpretation of Lauchlin Currie's (1974) leading-sector strategy. The idea of a leading sector normally conjures up notions of a favoured or privileged treatment. This paper argues that Currie's leading-sector strategy is a misnomer in the sense that it does not call for any favoured treatment to the chosen sectors (such as urban housing or exports), but only removal of handicaps or institutional barriers. The paper also shows that Currie's strategy is different from Rosenstein-Rodan's (1943, 1961) big push, to which it is often compared. While Rosenstein-Rodan advocated centralised investment planning to maximise the size and to optimise the composition of investment, Currie's leading sectors were based on the Smith (1776)- Young (1928) pro-market framework. Finally, while the policy conclusions of Currie's approach and the current development thinking are similar in many ways, the underlying theoretical framework is very different.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramesh Chandra, 2006. "Currie's 'leading sector' strategy of growth: an appraisal," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 490-508.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:3:p:490-508
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380600576391

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:mes:jeciss:v:38:y:2004:i:3:p:787-805 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ramesh Chandra, 2003. "Allyn Young revisited," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1), pages 46-65, January.
    3. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2000. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on anti-Depression Policies. Introductory Note," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20004, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
    5. Buchanan, James M. & Yoon, Yong J., 2000. "A Smithean Perspective on Increasing Returns," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 43-48, March.
    6. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
    7. Ramesh Chandra & Roger J. Sandilands, 2005. "Does modern endogenous growth theory adequately represent Allyn Young?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 463-473, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Ramesh Chandra & Roger Sandilands, 2006. "The role of pecuniary external economies and economies of scale in the theory of increasing returns," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 193-208.
    2. Roger Sandilands, 2009. "An Archival Case Study: Revisiting The Life and Political Economy of Lauchlin Currie," Working Papers 0906, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    3. Roger J. Sandilands, 2009. "Solovian and New Growth Theory from the Perspective of Allyn Young on Macroeconomic Increasing Returns," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 285-303, Supplemen.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:3:p:490-508. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    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.