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Theoretical Arguments for Industrialisation-Driven Growth and Economic Development


  • Tommaso Ciarli

    () (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK)

  • Michele Di Maio

    () (Univerity of Naples, Parthenope, Italy)


"We review the theories of growth and economic development in which the industrial sector plays a role. We briefly discuss the theoretical arguments that have been put forward in each of them and summarise the explanation of how industrialisation promotes growth and economic development. We follow an (occasionally overlapping) chronological order and find it convenient to distinguish three main periods in development thinking: the theories of the stages of economic development; the classical theories of economic development; and the modern views. The paper shows that, with few exceptions, industrialisation has always been considered the driver of economic growth in economic theory. However, in much of the relevant literature, the superiority of industry is assumed or observed, rather than explained, suggesting that there are a number of unresolved issues behind the different theoretical arguments for industrialisation-led economic development. Any development policy that focuses on industrialisation should consider these arguments in relation to specific objectives and contexts, rather than taking them for granted."

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Ciarli & Michele Di Maio, 2013. "Theoretical Arguments for Industrialisation-Driven Growth and Economic Development," SPRU Working Paper Series 2013-06, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:2013-06

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