A Paradigm Shift that Never Will Be?: Justin Linâ€™s New Structural Economics
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. Linâ€™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, Linâ€™s framework claims a return to a â€œstructuralâ€ 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 Linâ€™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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