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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.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 42 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 490-508

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:3:p:490-508
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  1. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
  2. 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 1003-26, October.
  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. 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.
  5. Ramesh Chandra, 2003. "Allyn Young revisited," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1), pages 46-65, January.
  6. 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.
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