The Role of the Economist in Economic Development
The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2006
22 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2010
Date Written: 2006
The issue of economic development has been at the center of economics from its beginnings. Adam Smith, writing in 1776, attempted to determine the factors that led to the wealth of nations. He concluded that low taxes, peace and a workable system of justice would lead to economic growth (Smith 1776, p. 43). Robert Lucas, discussing the economic development of India more than two centuries later wrote: “The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else” (Lucas 1988, p. 5). Clearly, economic development is still a central issue in modern economics. However, the economic development establishment has changed greatly since the time of Smith.
As this field has evolved, one critical question has been overlooked: where is the economist in all this? In other words, what role is the economist to play in understanding and contributing to economic development? This question is rarely, if ever, considered.
JEL Classification: B53, O20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation