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A Paradigm Shift that Never Will Be?: Justin Lin’s New Structural Economics

  • Ben Fine


    (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

  • Elisa Van Waeyenberge


    (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

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    This paper assesses the attempt by Justin Lin, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, to posit a new development paradigm through his New Structural Economics, NSE. Lin’s attempt to redefine development economics deserves scrutiny for at least two reasons. He launched his new framework from the platform that his position as Chief Economist at the Bank. Critical scrutiny of his propositions then allows for continued insights into the complex relationship between scholarship and policy at the Bank and further illuminates, more broadly, the role of the Bank across the spectrum of development economics, development studies and development policy. Second, Lin’s framework claims a return to a “structural†understanding of development, with a strong industrial policy rhetoric emanating from it. This has been greeted with considerable enthusiasm by erstwhile critics of the Bank. Closer scrutiny of the NSE, however, both reveals the flawed nature of its core theoretical notion of comparative advantage and exposes its strong, if unfortunately conservative, commitment to a flawed and incoherently applied neoclassical economics. These issues are explored across Lin’s propositions regarding structural change, the role of the state and finance and are further examined in the context of specific policy interventions that Lin attaches to the NSE.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK in its series Working Papers with number 179.

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    Length: 31
    Date of creation: Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:179
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    1. Stephen Cecchetti & Enisse Kharroubi, 2012. "Reassessing the impact of finance on growth," BIS Working Papers 381, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    3. Reinert, Erik S., 2012. "Neo-classical economics: A trail of economic destruction since the 1970s," MPRA Paper 47910, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Justin Yifu Lin, 2001. "Development Strategy, Viability, and Economic Convergence," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 409, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521514521 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Robert H. Wade, 2012. "Return of industrial policy?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2), pages 223-239, November.
    7. Enrico Berkes & Ugo Panizza & Jean-Louis Arcand, 2012. "Too Much Finance?," IMF Working Papers 12/161, International Monetary Fund.
    8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521735513 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Justin Yifu Lin & David Rosenblatt, 2012. "Shifting patterns of economic growth and rethinking development," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 171-194, September.
    10. Joseph E Stiglitz, 2009. "The Current Economic Crisis and Lessons for Economic Theory," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(3), pages 281-296.
    11. Elisa Van Waeyenberge, 2009. "Selectivity at Work: Country Policy and Institutional Assessments at the World Bank," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(5), pages 792-810, December.
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