The New Development Economics: We Shall Experiment, but How Shall We Learn?

38 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008

See all articles by Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 24, 2008

Abstract

Development economics is split between macro-development economists - who focus on economic growth, international trade, and fiscal/macro policies - and micro-development economists - who study microfinance, education, health, and other social programs. Recently there has been substantial convergence in the policy mindset exhibited by micro evaluation enthusiasts, on the one hand, and growth diagnosticians, on the other. At the same time, the randomized evaluation revolution has led to an accentuation of the methodological divergence between the two camps. Overcoming the split requires changes on both sides. Macrodevelopment economists need to recognize the distinct advantages of the experimental approach and adopt the policy mindset of the randomized evaluation enthusiasts. Micro-development economists, for their part, have to recognize that the utility of randomized evaluations is restricted by the narrow and limited scope of their application. As the Chinese example illustrates, extending the experimental mindset to the domain of economy-wide reforms is not just possible, it has already been practiced with resounding success in the most important development experience of our generation.

Keywords: Economics, International Economics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, International Development, International Trade, Finance, Welfare, Health Care, Social Policy

Suggested Citation

Rodrik, Dani, The New Development Economics: We Shall Experiment, but How Shall We Learn? (October 24, 2008). HKS Working Paper No. RWP08-055. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1296115 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1296115

Dani Rodrik (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9454 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/rodrik/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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