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Why Does Hirschmanian Development Remain Mired on the Margins? Because Implementation (and Reform) Really is 'a Long Voyage of Discovery'

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  • Michael Woolcock

    (Center for International Development at Harvard University)

Abstract

A defining task of development is enhancing a state’s capability for policy implementation. In most low- income countries, alas, such capabilities seem to be stagnant or declining, in no small part because dominant reform strategies are ill-suited to addressing complex non-technical aspects. This has been recognized for at least six decades – indeed, it was a centerpiece of Albert Hirschman’s understanding of the development process – yet this critique, and the significance of its implications, remain on the margins of scholarship and policy. Why? I consider three options, concluding that, paradoxically, followers of Hirschman’s approach inadequately appreciated that gaining more operational traction for their approach was itself a type of problem requiring their ideas to embark on ‘a long voyage of discovery’, a task best accomplished, in this instance, by building – and tapping into the distinctive insights of – a diverse community of development practitioners.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Woolcock, 2019. "Why Does Hirschmanian Development Remain Mired on the Margins? Because Implementation (and Reform) Really is 'a Long Voyage of Discovery'," CID Working Papers 347, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:347
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    File URL: https://bsc.cid.harvard.edu/files/bsc/files/2019-02-cid-wp-347-hirschmanian.pdf
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    Keywords

    Economic Development;

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