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Proximate, intermediate and ultimate causality: Theories and experiences of growth and development

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  • Szirmai, Adam

    () (UNU-MERIT / MGSOG, Maastricht University)

Abstract

For a better understanding of development, we are interested in why in the long run some countries or societies forge ahead, while others stagnate or fall behind. We are especially interested in the conditions under which growth and catch- up can be realised in developing countries. In section 1 of this paper, we develop a framework of proximate, intermediate and ultimate sources of growth and development which serves to structure the analysis and measurement of economic development. Sections 2 to 6 offer a review of classical and modern theories of development and stagnation, in the context of the framework of proximate and ultimate causality developed in section 1. Special attention is paid to the interactions between institutions and growth in different theoretical traditions. Section 7 presents empirical time series on long-run economic trends in a sample of 31 developing countries representing 80 percent of the population of the developing world. These series focus on proximate causality and on socio-economic outcomes and highlight some of the key issues discussed in the theoretical overview in sections 2-6.

Suggested Citation

  • Szirmai, Adam, 2012. "Proximate, intermediate and ultimate causality: Theories and experiences of growth and development," MERIT Working Papers 2012-032, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2012032
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    Cited by:

    1. Hannah Pieters & Andrea Guariso & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2013. "Conceptual framework for the analysis of the determinants of food and nutrition security," FOODSECURE Working papers 13, LEI Wageningen UR.
    2. Valeriy V. Mironov & Liudmila D. Konovalova, 2019. "Structural changes and economic growth in the world economy and Russia," Russian Journal of Economics, ARPHA Platform, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, April.
    3. Wim Naudé & Adam Szirmai, 2013. "Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Development," Working Papers 2013/17, Maastricht School of Management.
    4. Franziska Gassmann & Cecile Cherrier & Andrés Mideros Mora & Pierre Mohnen, 2013. "Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia," Papers inwopa694, Innocenti Working Papers.
    5. Cingolani, Luciana & Crombrugghe, Denis de, 2012. "Techniques for dealing with reverse causality between institutions and economic performance," MERIT Working Papers 2012-034, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Mideros A. & Gassmann F. & Mohnen P., 2013. "Estimation of rates of return of social protection instruments. Making the case for non-contributory social transfers in Cambodia," MERIT Working Papers 2013-063, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Broich, T. & Szirmai, A., 2014. "China's economic embrace of Africa: An international comparative perspective," MERIT Working Papers 2014-049, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Bluhm, Richard & Szirmai, Adam, 2012. "Institutions and long-run growth performance: An analytic literature review of the institutional determinants of economic growth," MERIT Working Papers 2012-033, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Theories of Economic Development; Economic Growth; Proximate Causality; Intermediate Causality; Ultimate Causality;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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